Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Lucky Life In And Out Of Show Business

June: Book written by a celebrity

I grew up on reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was a good, clean show filled with humor that my mother enjoyed and I would gladly sit down and watch it with her. There are still some scenes, like the nightmare-filled episode about walnuts, that have stuck with me over the years. And of course everyone was at some point drawn to the lively chimney-sweep Bert in Mary Poppins. So when I saw this book sitting on the shelf at the library as I was browsing (despite having my own stack of books to read) I thought, why not throw it onto the list for the month. It went right along with the theme! And what's more, it was the complete opposite of the two books I had read already. While all three celebrities share humor, fame, and very real issues, Van Dyke's story is very different from Felicia and Lindsey's. Jokingly you can see the differences just by looking at the book: it is longer and in large print. Why? Because Dick Van Dyke has a much longer story to tell!

The small similarities between the three books I choose for this month extend to the fact that I greatly enjoyed each and every one of them. Dick Van Dyke tells his story from his youth in Danville all the way up his current plan, which are a little vague since he is so fond of going where the wind take him. Of course the book is filled to the brim with humor and wonderful anecdotes from nearly every project he has worked on in his fifty plus years in showbiz. But also in the narrative are moments of truth. Painful memories of barely making it by, loosing people close to him, his battle with alcoholism. While Dick Van Dyke continues to be the larger than life man I have always thought him to be, after reading this book I am  made to love him a little more because he is merely human. Despite his shortcomings, his weaknesses, his tribulations, Van Dyke has always remained an exceptional man.

Please, if you enjoy any of Van Dyke's work, I think it is completely worth reading this book. See the man that pushed himself to the brink to make these parts come to life because while he has always loved what he does, he did still missed his fourteenth wedding anniversary. There is so much more to the man that sings and dances for children with cancer. And he felt the need to tell people hi story, share with his fans tales of his life in front of and behind the camera. So read this one, listen to what he has to say. Because after 85 years, he has a lot to say.