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Inspirational Reads

Uh, Whoops...

January 26, 2009

So, I remembered a book that I forgot to add to my list late last year. Turns out, I read 14 books last year, which isn't a lot, but at the same time, for someone who likes to rot his brain playing video games as much as I do, that's probably pretty good.

Since I overlooked the book, I thought I'd throw out a little bit about it, you know, sort of like when you forget your kid at school and then bring him a sundae to try and make up for your complete lack of parenting skills? Yeah, something like that. *shifty-eyed*

The one I overlooked was Gene Wilder's memoir Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. I had mentioned it here about getting back on the writing bandwagon and working on some of my stuff again.

Now, I've read a few memoirs before, including the "memoir" that was just Kevin Smith's blog shoved into book format, but I can't remember ever enjoying a memoir like Wilder's. It's not that it was uproariously funny nor was it deeply touching--it was both at times. It also gave some insights to the movies that he's been in which you can then use at parties to impress the panties off the ladies. Like, did you know that the whole scene where Willy Wonka comes strolling down the carpet and his cane gets stuck and then Wonka goes tumbling onto the ground only to pop up to the delight of those gathered was all Wilder's idea? In fact, if the director had not agreed to that scene, Wilder would not have done the movie and then we'd probably never know just how fucking lousy Tim Burton's version of the movie would be because the original would have been lost in some deep dark hole somewhere?

While the book does revolve around his life on the stage, the best parts of the book were to be found in Wilder's everyday life. His candor about his earlier marriages as well as watching Gilda Radner slowly die from cancer was amazing and never came off as being bitter or self-centered. They simply were moments from his life. While the scenes where he dealt with Radner's disease were sad and touching, reading about Wilder's own battle against sickness was even moreso. Reading about the procedures he went through in order to stave off a disease that would most certainly kill him was inspirational and left me feeling as warm-hearted as any piece of fiction where the protagonist slogs through countless hardships to arrive triumphant at the end of the story.

The book was easy to read and the chapters were short--though I did often want to squeeze just one more in before I had to go and see to some duty or task. It was a fun romp through Wilder's life and I would definitely recommend the read. It's well worth your while.


Sassy Britches said...

Fabulous recommendation. Remind us WHY you haven't been called up by all those places to whom you sent letters? They're doodie-heads.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I love Gene Wilder and will glady take this recommendation.
I'm looking forward to it!

LYDIA said...

Hey thanks Matt - I'll be sure to check it out

Frank said...'re saying you wouldn't read my autobiography if it were just my blog smashed into book format?

Giggle Pixie said...

This sounds awesome. Thanks for the heads-up!

Mel O said...

yeah... what Sassy B said!! ;)

TishTash said...

Anything in there about Young Frankenstein?

Ashley said...

I've always been intriguied by Wilder. And I can see how honest his writing must be. He has this presence about him that comes off in his movies (and I've only seen two of his: Wonka and Blazing Saddles).

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Sassy Britches: I guess I could be like everyone else and blame the economy. Some agents I've been reviewing are only taking non-fiction due to the current economic clime, which seems counter-intuitive, because people wouldn't want to escape or anything.

@ Candy: For something that was a total impulse read, it turned out to be completely enjoyable.

@ Lydia: No problem, Lydia; I do like to show that I'm more than dick jokes and foot fetishes.

@ Frank: I'd read it, and then wonder who the asshole was in all of your comments.

@ Giggle Pixie: I'd just repeat that I'm here to serve and that I'm not all dick jokes and foot fetishes, but I'm kind of tapped out on that front now.

@ MelO: yeah, what I said back at Sassy B.

@ TishTash: Oh yes, he goes through the whole writing process and directing and everything else involved in the making of Young Frankenstein. That's actually the part that influenced me to get back into the writing machine.

@ Ashley: Might I recommend Young Frankenstein? Peter Boyle as the monster was unbelievably good. Plus, I-gor was hilarious.

BeckEye said...

I've always thought Gene Wilder seemed like a pretty cool guy. I may have to take a look at that.

My favorite part of Willy Wonka is when he says to Mike TV, "You should open your mouth a little wider when you speak." For some reason, it cracks me up every time. It's the delivery.