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8 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars How I got to be whoever it is I am
I guess I have been in a hole for a long time. I was not very familiar with Charles Grodin but this book introduced me to a very funny talented man. Here is a man with an enormous sense of right and wrong. He does not just talk about it. He believes in doing. He certainly is a man of integrity. If we had more people like him in the world it would make it a better place...
Published on January 13, 2012 by the painter

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat of a struggle to read
I had never read a book by Charles Grodin before and am not entirely familiar with his work, but I thought I would try to find out about the actor/commentator/writer by reading this. I read the entire book but by the end found that I was waiting for it to be finished.

Some of the stories were interesting but the overall tone of the book was pretty down. It...
Published on October 31, 2012 by P. L. James


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat of a struggle to read, October 31, 2012
This review is from: How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am (Hardcover)
I had never read a book by Charles Grodin before and am not entirely familiar with his work, but I thought I would try to find out about the actor/commentator/writer by reading this. I read the entire book but by the end found that I was waiting for it to be finished.

Some of the stories were interesting but the overall tone of the book was pretty down. It seems like Mr. Grodin has perhaps been depressed or disillusioned by life and decided to use the book as a venting mechanism for many of the things that have bothered him throughout his life. He "names names" of those who haved wronged him (in his vision) and spends a lot of time focused on the negativity of his past.

The book is better when he writes about the people he has liked, but overall the entire work seems to be more of a product of bruised ego rather than genuine caring. The stories also seem to be randomly placed, and often disconnected, so the reader just has to keep mentally "jumping around."

I am sorry that he has not felt the blessings of his life to be sufficient enough that he can let go of the past and spend his energy on the things that matter, like his work with prisoners. I hope he finds his way to a more centered existence and focuses on things that inspire readers in his future books, rather than self-involved information that only draws readers into his seemingly-unforgiving judgements and sadness.

I wouldn't recommend this book to a general reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How I got to be whoever it is I am, January 13, 2012
This review is from: How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am (Hardcover)
I guess I have been in a hole for a long time. I was not very familiar with Charles Grodin but this book introduced me to a very funny talented man. Here is a man with an enormous sense of right and wrong. He does not just talk about it. He believes in doing. He certainly is a man of integrity. If we had more people like him in the world it would make it a better place. His book caused me to look further into who he is and I am delighted by his humor. Try looking at a few u-tubes to see how great he is.I am so very happy that I read his book.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Rambling Mess, October 8, 2009
Grodin rambles aimlessly in this book of leftover half-stories that either were already told in his previous books or were so insignificant that they didn't make previous cuts. The chapters are incredibly short (just a few paragraphs in some cases) and yet he manages to start one story, then midway through skip 30 years ahead to another story before going back to the original story that you have already forgotten. This is a guy who is supposed to be a good writer?

There are few stories that go beyond just a couple of surface details. He gives little insight into his life or his feelings, other than constantly defending himself as easy to work with (despite everyone else saying he is difficult to work with), being an optimist (yet all he does is complain) or claiming to be a "compassionate conservative" (even though just about every opinion he gives is to the left of liberal).

He really wasn't that successful at too many of his endeavors (talk show host, playwright, 60 Minutes commentator,etc.) yet he sees himself as successful at everything. He barely mentions the movies which are his claim to fame. The book just wanders back and forth between unconnected time periods and never really answers the title claim. The only thing worth printing were the three hand-written notes from Johnny Carson that appear in the book. (Grodin says he has some from Letterman as well but will wait until after he dies to print them--that's the kind of frustrating book it is!)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, May 8, 2009
Two messages are delivered in this funny and sometimes serious autobiography by Charles Grodin called "How I got To Be Whoever It Is I Am". Starting at his grassroots, he tells of his family's history and then launches into his first success as the 5th grade president, who is promptly impeached because of his incessant penchant to talk in class.

No, he did not come from a wealthy background, but was from humble beginnings, and made it in spite of his stumbling around, in an attempt to find his place in the competitive world of acting in television, movies, and on Broadway. One of the messages he conveys is he's really a nice guy under the facade of being an out-of-step individual who tries to alienate all those who are near and dear to him. He tells of the numerous times he had appeared with Johnny Carson and was always antagonistic, which often rubbed audiences the wrong way. Charles was well understood by the 'master' of late night hosts to be a delightful brand of comedy.

Many times in life we reminisce about the 'do over' if we had the chance. There are occurrences which would have been addressed differently if given more thought. These are the views of Grodin, but the reality is that in real life, he is not the abrasive and caustic-mouthed person he portrays. In this book he makes up for his inadequacy by playing the Monday morning quarterback and describes how he would have proceeded in a different way in many situations.

It isn't very often we have an opportunity to look inside the life of an actor and his personal interactions with directors, actors, and producers in such a Candid Camera close-up. Pleasing to the mind and spirit, Charles Grodin is a mensch (a nice person), in his efforts to support causes he truly believes in.

By helping those who have been convicted under the provisions of the Felony Murder laws, Grodin has put his money, time, and honor to right egregious enforcement of these laws. The proceeds from this book, which would normally go to him, are being donated to charity. This book is an excellent read.

Clark Isaacs
Reviewer
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actors, October 3, 2009
This book demonstrates the dry wit of its author. If you "get" Charles Grodin, you'll enjoy this look at his experiences. Once I began reading, I had a hard time putting it down as his anecdotes are interesting.

Written in first-person narrative, Grodin comes across as an honest man as he tells of his own shortcomings and forgives most offensives directed toward him. However, he is human, and after being treated rudely, he cites his successes.

Rather than filling in details, he sometimes writes in snippets. Since he's usually verbose, I count this as a positive.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm not sure how he got there, August 8, 2011
What comes across in this book is that Charles Grodin has a social conscience and tries to be a good man. What does not come across is any continuity in what he has decided to share. I found the book flat and repetitive, and unfunny [apparently I am not the only one, as several times he would state something, and then clarify, "that's a joke."].
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!, April 9, 2009
By 
grumpydan (Andover, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I like Charles Grodin, but have never read any of his other books before "How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am". I feel after reading this book I got know a little bit about the man. This book is a light humorous read that shows the reader that Mr. Grodin is a normal down to earth person who deals with life just like you and I. I found that his writing is easily understandable and enjoyable. You get to be with him and learn what life was like on a movie or television show set. You also get to know what his childhood was like - a naïve young boy that he was. At the end of this book, you will get to know how the producer, writer, actor, television personality became to be who he is.
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time and money, April 29, 2009
This book was boring and painful to read. I was hoping it would be better.
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How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am
How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am by Charles Grodin (Hardcover - April 9, 2009)
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