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- May 12, 2008
- Vol. 69
- No. 18
Picks and Pans: Books
by Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby | [
REVIEWED BY KYLE SMITH
Chris Farley once told a girlfriend his father loved John Belushi, so if he could make it on Saturday Night Live he'd make his father happy. Farley mimicked his role model all too well: Like Belushi, he rode drugs and booze to the grave at 33.
This brave, fast-moving oral biography, assembled by Farley's brother Tom from interviews with friends and relatives, follows the comic from a privileged Wisconsin childhood—where he was surrounded by hard-drinking parents and brothers—to his sickening 1997 demise. Everyone tried to save Chris, and there was hope as late as his career highlight, the 1995 comedy Tommy Boy, made during a second year of sobriety. Ultimately, though, he could find no relief from self-loathing. "Yep, everybody likes it when fatty falls down," was his brutally accurate career assessment. A colleague once asked Farley, "You don't want to die like Belushi, do you?" His reply: "Oh, yeah, that'd be really cool." That it wasn't cool at all is the bitter lesson of this unsparing look at a life treated like a throwaway joke.
by Marisa de los Santos | [
REVIEWED BY THAILAN PHAM
Following her 2005 debut, Love Walked In, de los Santos catches up with hopeless romantic Cornelia Brown, freshly married and starting a new life in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Readers may recognize the author's woven narrative style; Cornelia's chapters alternate with those of Dev, a 13-year-old academic prodigy searching for his birth father, and new neighbor Piper, a standoffish social queen coping with the cancer of her best friend Elizabeth. At times, obstacles and solutions seem too tidy, but de los Santos makes up for the predictability with prose that shines in moments of tenderness, particularly when depicting the poignancy of death and the anguish of those left behind. In Elizabeth's final days, her husband "lay down next to her and whispered the story of the births of both children.... They gave her permission to go."
by Barbara Walters | [
REVIEWED BY ALLISON ADATO
Just as she's done to countless celebs she's interviewed, Barbara Walters probably made herself cry writing this book. She doesn't shy from the tough stuff: How her nightclub-owner father built and lost many fortunes. Her love for—and guilt about—her late sister, Jackie, born mildly retarded. The anguish over her daughter Jacqueline's teen drug use. (Jacqueline is long recovered, she writes.) Nor does Walters, an entertainer as much as a ground-breaking journalist, skimp on the fun bits. Worst interview ever: Warren Beatty. Among the best: Katharine Hepburn. The one that got away: Princess Diana. She reveals the drama behind the revolving door at The View and addresses her famously soft "Rs," all with good humor. On location at Mount Ararat she jokes to her crew, "Why couldn't this have happened on Mount Kisco?"
by Margot Livesey | [
REVIEWED BY MICHELLE GREEN
Vulnerable Dara and ruthless Abigail, who forge an enduring friendship in college, have more in common than it may seem. In Dara's words, "We both had our lives fall apart by the time we were 10." The aftershocks are still rumbling as Livesey's splendid novel begins: Housemates in London, both protagonists have fallen for married men. Dara, however, is hooked on empty promises, while Abigail cheats on the lover who left his wife for her. Like a psychotherapist, Livesey deftly unwinds their stories, exposing the ways in which each learned to live with betrayal early on. Watching her work is mesmerizing; smart and suspenseful, this is a novel that will keep you in its thrall.
>NEW IN PAPERBACK!
I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK by Nora Ephron Essays on aging—wry, witty and unvarnished. "It's sad," Ephron writes, "to be over 60."
SHEER ABANDON by Penny Vincenzi High soaper about three friends, filled with romance, intrigue—and an abandoned baby.
SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent Two wildly disparate people come together in a memoir of love and salvation.
>• Rose Rock, 63, and husband Julius raised 10 kids—including comic Chris—plus 17 foster children. She's also a teacher, a former South Carolina radio host and now author of Mama Rock's Rules, a no-bull guide to parenting
WHY ALL THE FOSTER CHILDREN? You see a need and do it. I'd hear about a baby abused or hurt and think, "I wish they'd brought them to me." I've had kids who'd never been tucked in, or you'd hug them and they wouldn't know how to respond. It makes your blood run cold.
ON DISCIPLINE I'm not going to say we didn't spank—but I'd rather spank my child and have him get over it than say, "I wish you weren't born," or whatever people say when they're angry. Spanking's over in five minutes; cruel words stay forever.
YOU TALK ABOUT ASSIGNING CHORES. WHAT DID CHRIS DO? He never, ever liked to wash dishes! But he was a good table setter and he could iron really well.
December 19, 2014
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