Monday, February 11, 2008

BOOK: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda

in their shoes challenge

Like most people, I've always liked Alan Alda, and this memoir does nothing to change that view, if anything, my opinion of him has risen. What an interesting life he has lead, from growing up in vaudeville and burlesque, to his success in MASH and movies, to campaigning for the ERA (which I can vaguely recall. He and Phil Donahue have the same feminist, intelligent, humorous vibe. I wonder if Phil has written a book?) Alda seems so intelligent, and the book is his life journey to make sense of his strange childhood with a mentally ill mother, to how to deal with his questions and insecurities.

It was amazing that someone with a such disjointed childhood would be able to have one wife, happily married, and provide a stable childhood for his own daughters. There is a picture in the book of a newspaper article from the Toronto Daily Star of 1938, at two, smoking a pipe, and hamming it up. His parents had no compunction of using him to help promote their show. The media has changed so much, as children of stars today would not be able to grow up in the relative anonymity that Alda did.
I enjoyed his insights into acting and the steps he took to become a very good actor. He has always been a writer, of jokes, scripts, plays, and now books. I recently saw him on The Hour with George Stepanopolous and his sincerity and humor in real life are written into the book. This is a man who feels he was born to entertain, and this book does that, very nicely.


  1. I have this book and forgot about it. Maybe I'll switch it for one I've got on my In Their Shoes Challenge. Sounds good.

  2. booklogged - it was good, and not terribly long. I believe he has written a sequel.

    tink - His father actually had his dead pet dog stuffed. Alda then uses the idea as a metaphor for getting on with your life

  3. Wow, what a great review. I'll add that one to the wish brick. Thanks for explaining the title. I was going to ask. :)

  4. I liked this book a lot too. I loved the story about him working outside a gas station in clown makeup (sort of). He seems like a sweet, down-to-earth person, just like you would expect.


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