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Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned Paperback – September 12, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The son of actor Robert Alda, Alan knew that he also wanted to act from an early age. However there were some initial bumps to the dream being realized. In addition to coping with a childhood bout of polio, the younger Alda also dealt with a mentally ill mother. Using his trademark humor, Alda recounts how his love for mom existed alongside concern what she would do to the family and/or herself. Given what people were being treated with back then, keeping her at home was the infinitely more compassionate option-albeit not without its own challenges upon the family. Such experiences ultimately prompted Alan to develop his trademark sensitivity to others.
Family is a recurring theme throughout this book. In a profession where marriages are acquired and discarded like consumer goods, his 48-year marriage to Arlene really is something to brag about. They've also managed to raise three daughters, again defying the Hollywood odds of the `dysfunctional family' being an inevitable counterbalance to meteoric fame. I'm guessing the Washington D.C. `family values' crowd is too busy protecting the sanctity of marriage to take notice of somebody who actually illustrates it.
Politics is another theme running throughout this book. Bucking the route taken by many other leading men, Alda used his celebrity to lobby on behalf of the feminist movement.Read more ›
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not what one might expect of a celebrity memoir, not only because it is so very good but also because there is, you come to realize, so very little celebrity in it. Alda notices this himself about two-thirds of the way into the book in a prelude to his discussion of the amusing and unpleasant side effects of fame. ("This is what getting famous does to you, I thought. You wind up sending suicidal people form letters.") Alda does not here recite his stepping stones to greatness. He rather gives an honest account of his growth as an actor and a person over the years--how his intellect was challenged and changed, how he struggled to act rather than just perform. Nor does he shy away from self-criticism. There are no great faux pas to which Alda must confess, no substance abuse or extra-marital dalliances, but he does something arguably more difficult.Read more ›
I was surprised that Alda's earliest memories came from the period of traveling around the U.S. with his father on the Burlesque Circuit of the 1930s. I think of Alda as much too young to have ever seen something so ancient as Burlesque. I always equate him with the generation of college students protesting Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That is when M*A*S*H debuted. That's where I had pegged him. On further reflection, I can seeing the Burlesque influence in his work.
The story about the stuffing of a pet dog comes from Alda's youth. His father was an actor under a Warner Brothers' contract during World War II, and the family was living in a house in rural California. The author had been given the dog as a companion during his polio quarantine. It died a very strange and shocking death after eating leftovers. Its stuffing, suggested by Alda's father, did not succeed in lessening the pain of the memory of its death. Even as a child, the author saw how misguided the gesture was, and the story became for him a standard by which to measure other episodes in his life.
Readers wanting M*A*S*H stories to dominate the book will be disappointed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I received the book very quickly. It was just as listed. Haven't had time to read it, but I am sure it will be great.Published 9 days ago by Dana Kinsey
A thoroughly enjoyable read. The story of Alan Alda's life is very unusual and I found it hard to put the book down.Published 1 month ago by Klughie
Great condition. Great book to read. I highly recommend this book and company to work with.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Huge fan of MASH and the genius of Alan Alda. This book provided an insight to a life where brilliance was earned through personal experience. I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 5 months ago by IDB
I loved Mash. I was one watching the last show. It was very interesting getting a view behind the scenes. He has lead a very unconventional lifePublished 6 months ago by cajunsand