Monday, August 27, 2007

Best Book of the Summer

Beth has suggested the topic of 'best thing I read this summer, and I think it a fine topic. Now I'm suddenly glad I did all those 'reading report' posts because it allows me to see most of what I've read this summer. I've read a lot of history, for one thing. A lot of sword & sorcery. A lot of thrillers and mysteries. I've just plain read a lot.
Best thing? Hands down, Dean and Me, by Jerry Lewis. Absolutely wonderful book. Now keep in mind, this is from a guy who never thought Jerry Lewis was particularly funny. But I always liked Dean Martin, way back to when I saw him as Matt Helm in all those spy-spoof movies. Dean was just so cool. Even at six years or so, I could see it. Lewis felt the same. Dean was his hero. The guy he wanted to be like and the guy whose friendship and approval he desperately craved, finally won, and eventually lost. It's the story of a friendship and of a meteoric rise to stardom and the things that came about because of both. And there's so much in there about Hollywood in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Jerry's memories of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland. All the insider info about who was sleeping with who and who had mob connections.
But mostly it's about the things that fame and fortune can do to people. In the end it's about an enduring friendship that was shattered, but eventually reclaimed. Probably the best Hollywood biography I've ever read and definitely the best book of the summer.

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