This book is funny, but it also surprisingly thoughtful. This is Billy Crsytal telling you about his life, his childhood spent playing baseball and hobnobbing with some of the best jazz musicians of the day (his father was the manager of a popular record store in New York city and he also managed the first independent jazz label of its time), losing his father when he was just fifteen years old and having to grow up before he was quite ready, going off to college, meeting his future wife and marrying her when he was just twenty-three, having kids, trying to make a career as a stand up comic, his foray into TV and films, acting, directing, hosting the Oscars (he’s hosted it a record nine times), watching his daughters grow up, becoming a grand parent…all this interspersed with little insights and anecdotes about what it is like to be old.
It is Billy Crystal reflecting on his life. He is warm and funny, witty and insightful, even poignant at times. And he has clearly lived a life full of interesting people and rich with experiences of all kinds. And he writes about it with an engaging honesty that has you laughing and even crying with him a couple of times.
The book does drag in a few places and there are at least two chapters that I thought the book could have done without, but these are minor criticisms.
The book is definitely worth reading and as one reviewer on goodreads put it, if you like Billy Crystal, you will like this book.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should be Reading. The idea is to share a few teaser sentences from a book that you’re currently reading.
The book I have chosen for this week is Still Foolin ‘Em by Billy Crystal.
This is the way the book begins:
March 14, 2013, my sixty-fifth birthday. I got up that morning, padded over to the bathroom, threw some water on my face, looked in the mirror, and my uncle Al was staring back at me. My scream brought Janice, my wife of forty-two years, running in.
I kept yelling, “HOLY SHIT! What the fuck happened to me?” Somehow, overnight it seemed, I had turned from a hip, cool baby boomer into a Diane Arbus photograph. I looked at Janice for an encouraging word, for a hug, for an “It’s okay, Billy, you look great. It’s an old mirror.”
All she did was glance down at my robe, which had opened up, and ask: “When did your pubic hair turn grey?
That got me. The book is full of laugh out loud moments like this even as it tells a solid story. I’m only ninety pages into it, but I like it so far…
Read something dramatically different from your previous book. That was my husband’s suggestion. Since Team of Rivals was intense, thought provoking and very emotionally engaging, he thought it might be a good idea to read something lighthearted. So I picked up two books:
You cannot get more lighthearted and funny than either of these guys. I am four chapters into P G Wodehouse : A life in letters and seventy-five pages into Still Foolin ‘Em..
The best thing about both these books is that though they are funny, they’re by no means frivolous…I’m really enjoying them. And I am so glad to be reading again…