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A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George Hardcover – September 15, 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“There are a lot of nights I still wish I could sit next to George and talk; this is the next best thing. Wonderful read.” ―Jon Stewart

“Entertaining and enlightening!” ―The Washington Post

“Drop all your expectations when you open this book. It is written in the DNA of a Carlin, honest, biting, savage, funny, sad, dark, and profound. Kelly Carlin takes us on a journey from growing up in the shadow of one America's greatest comic icons into the light that it led her into. Hold on; like George Carlin, this book gives you a hell of a ride.” ―Lewis Black

“With A Carlin Home Companion, Kelly Carlin proves she can stay cool while standing next to the sun. As a Carlin-phile, I began reading hoping to peek behind the curtains of Earth's funniest man. I got more than a peek. Carlin opens the flood lights onto her childhood and the dysfunction in her house and in her mind. Her personal growth and awareness of self is inspiring. Kelly's stories are hilarious and so personal, at times felt like I was reading her diary. For anyone that's has ever not been sure who they are, this book is for you. There is a landing spot. Let Kelly Carlin be your beacon.” ―Jay Mohr

“As a fan, this book is essential. As a comic, this book is profound.” ―Margaret Cho

“A Carlin Home Companion is one hell of a ride. With her unique perspective, Kelly Carlin shines a light on George Carlin, and gives great insight into a man who was a hero to many, but a father to one.” ―Bill Maher

“Kelly tells a much-needed, revealing story about what it means to grow up in the shadow of fame and overcome dysfunctional, show-business-family patterns on the way to her own successful performing and writing career” ―Booklist

“George Carlin spent his life dissecting the American psyche. Now his daughter Kelly continues the family tradition, wielding a scalpel of her own as she lays bare her life as a child, and an adult child, in the Carlin household. A brave and, naturally, hilarious book.” ―Dana Gould

“In the hands of an accomplished writer, with a lifetime supply of research, this story would be a fascinating read. In Kelly's hands, we get SO much more. Ms. Carlin has shared her firsthand knowledge in a masterful, hilarious and heartbreaking memoir of, and dedication to, one of the greatest comedic minds and performers in American history. Filled with wit, charm, and genuine, if not extraordinary prose. Bravo, Kelly!” ―Kevin Pollak

“Kelly Carlin has humanized her father, in a way that doesn't hold back and through her brilliant writing, brings him to life in a whole new way. In this book she shows she has her father's talent for writing, his awesome humanity, and a good dose of his twisted comedic mind.” ―Lizz Winstead

“The daughter of the great comedian speaks: funny and moving.” ―Robert Klein

“A heartwarming, hysterical read! Carlin the younger evokes a version of Carlin the senior we never had the pleasure of knowing: George Carlin the Dad! A Carlin Home Companion may be Kelly Carlin's story specifically, but it's also the story of the American family in general.” ―Kevin Smith

A Carlin Home Companion, which simultaneously documents Kelly's own attempts at self-discovery, is a must for fans who want to understand the legend behind the mic” ―Mother Jones

“Highly readable... Told with candor, humor, and good L.A. gossip..., the tale of Carlin's journey... is one of trauma well told and triumph well earned.” ―Playboy

“George Carlin's daughter offers and intimate look at her life growing up with a comedy legend... A funny, honest, and compassionate account of growing up with a master of comedy.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“George Carlin gave us all so much to be thankful for, not least of which is his daughter Kelly. Her affection and admiration for her father jump off the page. And like her dad, her writing is funny, courageous and wise; this book is a glowing testament to them both. An inspiring and beautiful read.” ―Paul Reiser

About the Author

KELLY CARLIN was born in Ohio in 1963. She received her Master's Degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She presently tours her critically acclaimed solo show, "A Carlin Home Companion," hosts two radio shows―The Kelly Carlin Show on SiriusXM and Waking from the American Dream on SModcast Network, and blogs for the Huffington Post. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob McCall and their Jack Russell Terrier, Stella.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (September 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250058252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250058256
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By AmazonFan VINE VOICE on September 15, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not sure who the best audience is for A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George.
George Carlin fans will likely be disappointed since despite being categorized as a biography of George, this is really an autobiography of his daughter Kelly. We learn a bit about George's early background but the bulk of the book is about Kelly growing up as the privileged child of a famous celebrity. While she mentions the drug use she saw between her parents, this is mostly about her own adventures with sex (three pregnancies and subsequent abortions before the age of 16), drugs and alcohol while her parents were oblivious, absent or both.
Kelly goes on to detail her struggles through an abusive first marriage and how she finally overcomes her own addictions. And despite the book jacket comments, this is not a humorous book.
Anyone who has lost a parent will appreciate the heartache and poignancy she relates in dealing with the loss of her mother and 11 years later her father.
But if you are looking to learn more about the man behind the comic genius that was George Carlin, this is not the book for you.
It's not a bad book. It's just not what most readers are expecting.
A better subtitle for A Carlin Home Companion would be Growing Up Without George...
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While George Carlin was a favorite comedian for many of us, including me, his daughter Kelly's book, "A Carlin Home Companion", doesn't do much to enlighten the reader. As one can imagine, George Carlin's life was an ongoing soap opera and with the addition of his alcoholic wife, Kelly had no chance to be something other than an adult growing up. The problem with this book is that it's written as a teenager might write it...overly emotional and not very succinct. Yes, she does love her parents and finally straightens out her own life, but the narrative is exhaustingly overwrought, with occasional endearing passages.
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In the reviews I'm reading, the chief complaint is that this wasn't a book as much about George as it was about Kelly, his daughter. That's very true, and I don't deny it.

But MY chief complaint is that she should have gotten a ghostwriter. At intervals throughout reading this I had to exercise an inordinate amount of discipline, even determination, to finish this book. It is so poorly written. Her prose is, I think, meant to be sort of conversational, but it's so forced and elementary. Some of the more major things that almost made me put the book down:

1. She uses the word "daddy" an UNCOMFORTABLE amount throughout this book. I found myself just grimacing at her weird arrested development of character mixed with her self-involvement that led her to believe this was her "style."
2. She thinks she killed it! At one point in the book, she revels in her "gift of gab" she inherited from her father, and what a gosh darned great writer she turned out to be. I have to...wholeheartedly disagree.
3. Toward the end, she gets SO heady about everything, SO "woo-woo" as she pejoratively puts it in the book, you start to realize that this is a woman who has never really met the real world. The book just oozes privilege and surreality.
4. Oh my GOSH the name dropping. I understand it's important to glorify the folks who supported her father, but it feels more like boot-licking than simple acknowledgment. Throughout the book she struggles with living in her father's shadow (understandably), but this book feels like she's still at it, trying to grasp at what's left of her last name's meaning, squeeze a few bucks out of it.
5. The whole thing is rushed in a heartbreaking way.
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Skip this book. I heard Kelly Carlin dismiss criticisms of this book as the ramblings of a self-centered narcissist by saying that of course she came off that way in parts because some of it was about a self-centered time in her life. The trouble is, that part of her life never ends. From her delusions that she has a 'career' in 'the business' to her fury at an airline clerk who doesn't offer to comp a $1,000 first class ticket home after being told that her dad just died and he was George Carlin, this woman never finds herself. It may not be entirely her fault, but it is painful to read hoping for an epiphany that never arrives. Buy a book by her famous father instead; she'll still get the money but it won't encourage her to continue to ride Daddy's coat tails well into her fifties.
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I saw Kelly do this live and when I read the book it was like she was doing the show just for me. I was a big fan of George Carlin but I never knew what happened behind the scenes until this book came out. Kelly tells it all from George being born to all the good things/bad things that happened while he was alive. If you are a fan of the man I call The thinking mans comedian then you will love this book. it is mostly a biography but there are some of Georges routines in there. I got it and read it and loved it
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Well done, Kelly! An honest, if not understandably favorably biased account of growing up in the Carlin household by the only person left to tell it. She delivered on the kind of book I expected it to be.

At an early age, she was "raised" by absentee, fall-down-drunk, and coke-devouring parents. By her teens she was placated with riding horses, daddy's extra joints, and a BMW - which she totaled, only to have replaced. To me, the most revelatory scene she recounted about the essence of her father, was when he was standing in his driveway in an elite suburb of Los Angeles, screaming obscenities at his rich neighbors, just because they were rich coc****kers. He truly hated them. There he was, living in the same neighborhood, just as rich as they were, spoiling his own child like they were theirs, just as self-indulgent as they were - but no doubt, ingesting way more drugs than they did - and he was enraged at them for . . . . ? For being like him, except with a coat and tie. And for that reason, George was eternally convinced that he was both morally and socially superior to anyone who had a 9 to 5 job, which, of course, is most people.

Another (understandable) blind spot in her description of her father, was her delusion, mirroring his own, that as he got older, he got better at comedy. That reminded me of hearing David Crosby say, not too long ago, that he's writing the best music of his life right now. What?!?! Not even close. George got exponentially darker, misanthropic, and way less funny as he got older. As a tribute to her dad, she peppered her remarks at his memorial service with the F-bomb, and other vulgarities. How dignified. Sadly, George would have thought that was funny.
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