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I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2006
I picked this book up on an impulse from the new release table at Barnes and Noble (I don't buy ALL my books on Amazon--just a lot of them). I'm glad I did. I still have a special place in my heart for Mr. Rogers. I'm sure many people my age do (I'm 36--a 70's child). I appreciate him even more now as my children watch his reruns. His soothing voice and manner are the ultimate role model. As I read this book, I could imagine his voice talking through the many letters and dialogue. The author is a very lucky man to have met him and become friends.

The other reason I was drawn to this book is I love books with personal letters. Something about letters is very revealing. I like books that are nothing but letters (Letters from a Nation for an example). This book has tons of them.

The authors narrative of his brother's cancer and his subsequent death are both a tragedy and uplifting. All in all a different sort of read than what I am used to, but good nonetheless.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2006
I happened upon this book by "accident" at Barnes & Noble and couldn't finish the first few pages without crying. It is a deeply touching book laden with spiritual insights which chronicle, primarily through the correspondence of Fred Rogers and the author/journalist, Tim Madigan, their very special friendship. Mr. Fred Rogers, famous for his Mr. Rogers Neighborhood children's show, shines as a stellar example of kindness, unconditional love, and profound and open friendship. The theme of "I am Proud of You" which runs through the book is touching and poetic. The author and Mr. Rogers tackle life problems together, primarily centered on Madigan's "Furies" of possible divorce, his brother's unrelenting cancer, and his not-so-perfect relationship with his father. Great book for those coping with the complexities of grief. Forgiveness and healing abound here in the letters between these two remarkable men who build a remarkable friendship. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Madigan show us how unconditional love and joy can prevail through life's painful times. PLEASE, if you are at all intrigued by Mr. Rogers, love spiritual books, or are coping with grief, GET this book. You will want to pass it on, and by doing so, you will make the world a better place. God Bless Mr. Madigan for writing this book, and to Mr. Rogers for his remarkable soul and for giving us a good, clear glimpse into true goodness. Warning: Read with tissues.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2007
figuring it would be light reading, and thinking that this won't have that much effect on me. It is now midnight and I have spent one and a half hours finishing the wonderful story of a friendship between a newspaper reporter and Mr. Rogers over a ten to fifteen year period. A previous reviewer worries about the voyeruism rife in the world nowadays, and I understand his point, but I disagree with him in this case. Spending time with this book is the closest the rest of us will get to being friends with Mr. Rogers, and the experience, even secondhand, is worth having. Recommended.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2006
[...]
I grew up in the 70s, and honestly, I was never a big fan of Mister Roger's Neighborhood because it was a bit slow-paced for me. But I knew enough to see that Fred Rogers was a kind and gentle man. I certainly never made fun of him. As I grew older (and matured), and more importantly , became a father, I watched the show and really admired what he was putting forth to children. We live in the day and age of reality television, where MTV can't wait to parade 7 new, often drunk, "role models" on its Real World series. But here's a man who talks to children like they're important people (which they are!) and interacts with each and every person (grown-up) as if they are the most important person in the world. I simply appreciated the man so much more than I had as when I was a kid. Then comes the news of his death, and I was genuinely saddened, just as I was when I learned of Princess Diana's death or Steve Irwin's (the crocodile hunter). But as it always does, life goes on and you forget. Then I read a brief review of Tim's book and I eagerly awaited its release. Having been (and still am) a huge fan of Tuesday's with Morrie, I figured this would be a variation of that. I was right, it was, but it was also so much more. The personal letters that Tim includes are so touching, and prove that Fred was just as much the genuine, kind, loving human being that "played" on TV. Actually, he was so much more. He was an amazing friend, and that speaks volumes to his character. The world was a better place with Fred in it, and we lost something when he died. Tim obviously knew that better than me, that's why I'm thankful for his book because it brings Fred back in a way, and it couldn't have come at a better time. This review may be rambling, but as I noted from the beginning, I'm a rookie at this. "I'm Proud of You" is so worth your time. Please read it and please give copies of it to friends and loved-ones.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
The author, Tim Madigan, and I are close friends. Tim gave me a copy of the manuscript of his book in November 2005, when my mother was in hospice with terminal leukemia. My sister inquired about the manuscript when I brought it to the hospice and I mentioned to her Tim's friendship with Fred Rogers and what I knew about the subject of the book. She began reading the manuscript and completed it before I had barely started my reading and told me "this is a great book; it has a lot to do with what we are going through right now." I completed the manuscript while sitting at my mother's bedside a day or two prior to her death. To say that I was touched by this book would be a major understatement. The vulnerability, hope, strength and wisdom so eloquently expressed by Tim brought me closer to my mother, sister, children, nephews, other family members and friends who had gathered for the vigil at the hospice and to the God of my understanding. If you read this book, be prepared to be emotionally and spiritually enriched.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2006
Author Tim Madigan, working as a Texas newspaper reporter in 1995, profiled children's TV show legend Mister Rogers. One assignment grew into a years-long friendship.

This is NOT a biography of Fred Rogers. However, "I'm Proud of You" is an uplifting tale of how Rogers remained the same loving, supportive soul that young viewers knew. As the journalist and the PBS icon exchanged letters and e-mails, Madigan recalled he felt as if "I was corresponding with God himself."

The author entrusted the ordained Presbyterian minister-turned-TV celebrity with his closest secrets. Rogers called these Madigan's "Furies." When Madigan divulged his shaky marriage in 1997, Rogers replied, "I would never forsake you." Madigan told Rogers of his stormy relationship with a father who never seemed satisfied with him. Rogers thereafter ended every letter and e-mail with "IPOY--I'm proud of you." When Madigan's younger brother Steve was dying of cancer, Rogers reached out again.

The two friends shared their love of reading with each other. Ironically, one of the books Rogers sent Madigan was "Tuesdays With Morrie." Perhaps Fred saw parallels in their own relationship? Madigan reflects with love and gratitude his spiritual bond with Fred Rogers, and how that friendship transformed his own roles of son, husband brother and father.

When Madigan penned a tribute to Fred Rogers following his 2003 death, hundreds of readers thanked him. "I was pleased to assure the readers that Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers were indeed one and the same, and that in real life Fred was as he appeared on television, the gentle embodiment of goodness and grace," he writes.

Anyone with past or present in their lives would be heartened by this book. I'm proud of Tim Madigan, too. He writes with humor, honesty and hope.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I've gotta give Tim Madigan props for admitting his book's similarities to Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie. In I'm Proud of You, Madigan chronicles his own midlife awakening through friendship with an older (and enormously famous) mentor.

As a journalist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Madigan was assigned to interview television legend and tireless child advocate Fred Rogers in 1995. What could have been a mere exchange of pleasantries became instead a sincere and profound friendship that would last until Rogers' death in 2003.

Madigan's book confirms what most visitors to Rogers' "neighborhood" already believe - that he was a caring and compassionate man. The title of the book refers to the way in which Mr. Rogers often signed his emails and letters to Madigan - "I'm Proud of You," a phrase Madigan had always wished to hear from his father when he was a boy. The book also shows Rogers' sense of humor, deep faith (he was an ordained Presbyterian minister), and magnetic pull that affected all around him.

At times during my reading, I felt annoyed with the self-centeredness of Madigan's memoir. I know, I get it, that's what memoirs are about - *the author*. But I really just wanted to know more about Mr. Rogers, and felt like skipping through Madigan's own struggle with depression and what he calls his "Furies" of midlife. One part I could not put down, though, had to do with the death of Madigan's brother Steven. That entire section of the book made me cry openly and feel grateful for the peek inside the author's experience.

Ultimately it is not Madigan's personal story that captivated me most, but the looking-glass view of the goodness and humanity of Fred Rogers. I feel inspired by how he lived his life and how he valued relationships. As an interesting resource, Madigan includes an "informal bibliography" at the end of the book which lists those books that Rogers held dear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2006
I picked this book up at the library quite by accident. It looked like a "quick" read and I was intrigued by the title. I was influenced greatly by the show "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" when I was little. Even after I was way too old and the other kids thought he was lame, I secretly tuned in to see what was happening. Even though my neighborhood and upbringing was nothing like what I imagined it to be like in those little models of homes at the beginning of the show, I longed to live in a place like that secure from the dangers that filled my young mind and surroundings. Escaping to that world and imagining what it would be like to have a neighbor like Mister Rogers was something I spent a lot of time doing. Not to mention how much I loved the idea of the trolley taking me to the Land of Make Believe - wouldn't that be the coolest? From the first few pages of this book, I knew I was hooked on Tim Madigan's style of writing. He is a journalist by trade and had met Mister Rogers in order to write about him. He also had met Captain Kangaroo (another of my faves - Captain Kangaroo looked exactly like my dad and could be just as silly), but formed a bond and friendship with Fred Rogers from their first meeting - even attending church that weekend with Fred and his wife Joanne. Soon, I was reading more about both the author's difficulties in life and what a wonderful person Mister Rogers really was by how he supported the author through those difficulties. Mr. Madigan is able to portray his own discomfort with the intimacy that Fred Rogers offers, yet he is drawn to someone who he later compares as being close in spirit to people like Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II. It is apparent throughout these pages and the correspondence shared between the two of them, that they explore their own spirituality, death and dying, social justice, fatherhood, relationships with siblings and parents and most of all, forgiveness and being able to be intimate with those around you and connecting with people on a spiritual level. The author talks several times about how many of Fred Rogers' qualities remind him of what it must have been like to interact with Jesus. The whole book is both uplifting and poignant. One of my personal favorite influences throughout the book is Tim's mother. She is apparently strong in her Catholic faith and had been throughout raising 7 children and working as a school nurse. In the author's words, she did this "despite suffering from increasingly debilitating arthritis, and somehow managed to remain a woman of indomitable good cheer, a constant source of tenderness, love, and support for [her children}". He remembers fondly that "she rose each morning to have uninterrupted time to pray and read the Bible, savoring those quiet moments in the morning with God and a cup of coffee." How many of us long for our own children to view us in such a manner, but find it difficult to spend that kind of time nourishing our own faith? I am sure that Mrs. Madigan had her momentary lapses as a great wife and mom, but I found myself longing to be like her so that my own children could draw from my strength. The author takes us through his 7 year friendship with Fred Rogers and it is their correspondence that tells their story throughout most of the book. Mr. Madigan veers from this format temporarily in the chapter that tells of his brother, Steve's, death from lung cancer. During that chapter, he shares with us some words of his mother as she sat by the bedside and helped to care for her son while he died. The author is profoundly grateful that his mother has shared her thoughts in written form and preserved for future generations just a small amount of her faith and strength and is reminded of how Mary must have felt to watch Jesus die on the Cross. For sure, the whole Madigan family is a picture of strength and faith during that time, including his brother Steve. Their friendship is cut short, obviously, by the death of Mister Rogers in 2003. This book, though, preserves just a small amount of the great man that was Fred Rogers. For that, I am grateful and also proud of Tim Madigan! I will be buying several copies of this book to give to my friends at Christmas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2012
Award-winning journalist Tim Madigan tenderly recounts his friendship with the children's television icon, a man of "historic kindness," says Madigan. The author, who had struggled all his life with a father who seemingly withheld his approval, asked Mr. Rogers if he could be proud of him. The answer, a resounding "Yes!" This was followed by years of steadfast friendship between the two men, who shared intimacies about faith, the meaning of life and death and the importance of cultivating understanding and compassion in relationships. Full of wonderful anecdotes about what it was like to have Fred Rogers, an amazingly loving and wise man, as a close friend and confidante. Beautifully written!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2007
This was one of the most inspiring and touching books that I have read in a long time. Very much a tribute to Mr. Rogers and the ability that he had to reach out to others. There was also a peek into the life of the author and the things that he had to come to terms with in his own life. I've ordered multiple copies to send to friends. Everyone needs to know that they are cared about and this is a wonderful way to pass on Mr. Rogers' love.
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