He's one of America's most recognizable and acclaimed actors: a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his 11 years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.
"My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six," begins Alda's irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.
Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow.
It is the story of turning points in Alda's life, events that would make him what he is, if only he could survive them.
From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermist's shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death can't be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them.
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, filled with curiosity about nature, good humor, and honesty, is the crowning achievement of an actor, author, and director, but surprisingly, it is the story of a life more filled with turbulence and laughter than any Alda has ever played on the stage or screen.
"A brief but entertaining autobiography tempered with humility and a depth rarely found in celebrity memoirs." (Publishers Weekly)
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Can't Tell It's an Abridged Version
The voice of the author, whose acting talent makes this a truly great comic performance, with lots of laugh-out-loud moments during my long commute to and from work.
The author, of course, but also loved the insights into his consummate performer father, his mentally ill mother, his gently wise clarinetist wife, Arleen, his father's vaudeville buddies, his fellow MASH cast mates, and others.
No, but may purchase the Audible version of his Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, which I remember was not as good as this autobiography but still worth reading.
Yes, I would have, but it is not the kind of book where you wait breathlessly for the ending or must race to the finish line for the big reveal! It's more like sitting up late having a beer and talking over old times with an old friend.
Definitely buy this abridged version read by the author, NOT the unabridged version read by someone else!! I have read the unabridged version, and noticed nothing crucial left out of this abridgment!
The chapter about the author's dog, Rhapsody, may be tough for animal lovers to listen to.
The chapter about his near-death experience in Chile is unforgettable.
- Gretchen SLP
I was a little worried about getting an abridged version of this book, but after reading the other reviews I decided that having Alan Alda as the narrator was worth it. I am so glad I went with this version. I couldn't tell if it was abridged or not and I really appreciated having the words read in the author's own voice.