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Dean and Me: (A Love Story) Paperback – October 10, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Over the course of their 10-year partnership, Lewis and Dean Martin made 16 wildly popular movies (they were the world's number one box office earners from 1950 to 1956), but their real strength was their performances in nightclubs, theaters and on television. Audiences found their mixture of music and ad-libbed, irreverent comedic pandemonium intoxicating. The duo's fascinating kinship—Lewis idolized his partner, while Martin was aloof—has been chronicled in Shawn Levy's King of Comedy and Nick Tosches's Dino, but Lewis wants to give his late partner the credit he feels critics missed by always praising the "the monkey" rather than the straight man. Untangling the complicated union, Lewis doesn't spare himself, admitting that when the team's relationship unraveled (they weren't speaking between scenes on their last film), he became a bully on set and made others the brunt of the anger he couldn't vent at Martin. Lewis is a wonderful raconteur, and his tales capture the excitement of their budding career and the slow, sad erosion of the fun. Whether it's his age (Lewis is 79) or his coauthor (Kaplan co-wrote John McEnroe's You Cannot Be Serious), fans will be surprised and entertained by Lewis's honesty and diminished ego and bitterness. Photos. First serial to Vanity Fair. (On sale Oct. 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis soared to popularity in post-World War II America, as their unlikely chemistry proved successful. The two met in New York City in 1945, where Lewis, a struggling comedian, and Martin, a handsome crooner, were looking to hit the big time. This candid memoir examines the tumultuous yet productive relationship that developed between the two as they spent 10 years performing live shows and making movies. As Lewis tells it, in the early years of the duo's success, they began hanging out with movie stars and other celebrities, and life was one continuous party, with loads of money and all the booze, babes, and good times that either could ask for. But despite attempts to manage their egos and to handle the other pressures that come from living a fast life, eventually the magic began to fade and the two finally called it quits in 1956. After parting ways, both achieved great solo success: Martin becoming a member of the famous Rat Pack and Lewis a successful writer, producer, and director. Although they never really worked together again, Lewis maintains that he never stopped loving Dean Martin, and indeed this book is an adoring tribute to the man. (It may leave some readers wondering what Dean's side of the story would be.) Kathleen Hughes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767920872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767920872
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

324 of 332 people found the following review helpful By Neil T. Daniels on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Growing up working for an executive at NBC, I was lucky to have known Dean Martin myself. Now, years later, as founder of the "Dean Martin Fan Center", I have met and heard from so many people who were close enough to know both Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis when they were a comedy/musical team who took the world by storm.

After entertaining the world for ten years through stage, radio, films, television and recordings, the public grew to love the team. Then, after a decade of burning up everything they touched, the duo became burned out themselves. Having to please the studio executives who wanted to keep the cash cow producing, their material became recycled. Martin and Lewis as individuals grew and saw beyond what they were doing. Those pressures and confining elements only led to animosity between each other, and finally wound up in divorce. As in any parting, not only did it hurt the two involved, but also their family and friends. The public was their 'extended' family-- and now each fan had to choose between taking Dean's side or Jerry's side, usually putting blame on the other partner for the breakup. The media took huge advantage of this.

When I first heard that Jerry was a writing his memoirs of those partnership years, I was more than a bit apprehensive. After all, Dean has already left this world and what would Jerry say about him? Would Jerry take credit for everything? Would Jerry somehow put blame for their breakup on his partner somehow? I finally got my advance copy sent overnight from the publisher. Amazingly, it wasn't the size of the Gutenberg Bible that I expected. I finished it in one sitting, actually waiting for something I didn't like or would find inacurate to blast on about. Guess what?
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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a bit skeptical when I saw this book, wondering if Mr. Lewis could put aside his ego long enough to give Dean his due. Perhaps time and age have softened his perspective beause this is an amazingly fine book and Lewis seems to speak honestly about the ups and downs in his relationship with Dean Martin, as well as his own shortcomings. There is a bittersweet quality to his reminiscences as well as a wistful, yearning tone. I got the sense that if he could do it over, he'd have reconnected with Dean more often before Martin died. Now it is too late for that and Lewis's sadness is palpable.

The book should satisfy fans of the two, as it covers everything from their very first days working together to the rockier moments when the magic no longer held and they went their separate ways. I've read numerous interviews of both Dean and Jerry but this is the most honest and open account thus far.

Admittedly, it IS a one-sided perspective, as Dean is no longer around to add his opinion. But Lewis is quite open, not glossing over the pros and cons of show business, about the overnight change from being relative unknowns to a heady life of parties, celebrity and the perks that came with that fame- adoring fans, plenty of women and their "bad boy" image that occasionally surfaced, since they could call the shots and set their own terms. It didn't always bring out the best in them.

Also, as successful as they were, both partners were constrained by their roles - Lewis as the perennial clown and Martin as the singer who served as the straight man alongside Lewis. While each one highlighted the others' talents, neither one got the opportunity to fully express their other least, not until they parted.
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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Carol Marsella on November 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a professional reviewer, but on this book, DEAN AND ME (A Love Story), I am compelled to speak up!

Having loved the comedy of Martin and Lewis all my life, I bought this book the very day it was released and enjoyed reading it so much that I am already reading it for the second time. (This is NOT like me!) Oh, it is not great literature, to be sure, but, my oh my, it is a wonderful story! And it really is a love story... It is a story of two regular guys who achieved the great American dream. It is, in fact, American History. It is also the story of a deep and abiding friendship and the realization that the friendship was a treasure far greater than the achievement of the childhood dreams of fame and fortune.

That is not all. It is also quite an entertaining read. Jerry Lewis, with James Kaplan's expert assistance, has written it as though he is sitting in your living room telling the story; he includes little sidebars and interesting tidbits about the times, the fashions, the mob, the rat pack, and many other celebrities. One of the most wonderful surprises of this book is that Mr. Lewis does not beat his readers over the head with the silliness we might have expected from him. He has, instead, written this story to honor his partner and the partnership and friendship they shared. He engages his readers from the first page and escorts them on a sentimental journey - from Martin and Lewis' humble beginnings and how they got their start in the big time to their infamous break up and some of what came thereafter, up to and including Dean Martin's broken heart (over the loss of his son, Dino, Jr. in a plane crash) which ultimately led to Dean's own death. Mr.
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