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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Thanks, to Spalding Gray
Today, as it poured rain, I curled up with The Journals of Spalding Gray. Tomorrow, and all the days after, I will more fully appreciate my life, and my writing gift.

This journey is an often difficult read. If you enjoyed Spalding Gray, are a fan of his work, his writing, his performance, you will find him on every page, and in every word. This collection...
Published on October 19, 2011 by K. Costello

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great theater; poor journals
Spaulding turns out to be just a regular guy, looking to get laid. Drama turns mundane in day-to-day events. Disappointing.
Published 6 months ago by Paula Davidsen


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Thanks, to Spalding Gray, October 19, 2011
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This review is from: The Journals of Spalding Gray (Hardcover)
Today, as it poured rain, I curled up with The Journals of Spalding Gray. Tomorrow, and all the days after, I will more fully appreciate my life, and my writing gift.

This journey is an often difficult read. If you enjoyed Spalding Gray, are a fan of his work, his writing, his performance, you will find him on every page, and in every word. This collection of Gray's personal journals is beautifully presented, and gives the reader an intimate look inside Gray's wonderful, yet tortured, soul. Nell Casey shows true respect for Gray's entries, and does not attempt to over-analyze Gray's words, or the surrounding events. I found Casey's presentation of the subject matter flawless.

I am especially grateful for the deeper explanation of the accident in Ireland and what transpired after this disaster. Special thanks to Gray's family for making these journals public.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The unfiltered Spalding Gray., November 28, 2011
By 
David (Lake Orion) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Journals of Spalding Gray (Hardcover)
The Journals of Spalding Gray is a brutally honest account of what it was to live in Spalding Gray's head. Spalding, of course, was the absolute expert in his field; he was self-absorbed to the nth degree and felt compelled to confess his findings regularly in his autobiographical monologues.

Autobiographical monologues are nothing unique today ,but Spalding Gray pioneered the form. I first knew about Spalding Gray from his film "Swimming to Cambodia," in which he recounts his experiences in Thailand filming "The Killing Fields." Swimming to Cambodia is mesmerizing, Gray could tell a story as well as any story can be told. The journals are especially interesting because of the way they offer some perspective on his monologues. He confessed in his monologues, it is true. The journals provide what he left out, and how he felt about it.

The journals reveal Gray as a person of perverse appetites, unwilling to curb them in spite of the hurt he inflicted on others. Other reviewers have remarked on how sexually graphic the book is, and so it is. Gray was destructively self-indulgent, and if he had an urge he pursued it and chronicled it in his journals. There are four important relationships detailed in the book: his mother, Elizabeth LeCompte, Renee Shafransky and Kathleen Russo. It seemed that in whatever relationship he was currently in, he tended to look over his shoulder and idealize his previous relationship. Each woman gave Gray what he craved most, while Gray seemed to conspicuously deny them what they needed most from him. Gray has just enough insight to note how unfair he could be, but not enough that guilt could motivate him to change.

He indulged freely in alcohol; sex; self; skiing and, ultimately, death. His monologues reflected his obsessions, and were brilliantly clever. In the end analysis, Gray himself was the talent behind all of it, although his career depended to a great degree on his relationships for direction and focus. The journals are not the easiest read (I found myself wincing at times. How can he even write some of the things he writes about?) and don't always paint a flattering portrait of the man. I enjoyed it very much, though. Spalding Gray was a flawed person with a great talent. He always admitted he was flawed, the journals reveal just how flawed he was.

I found the book worthwhile. The editing is wonderful, it provides reference points where needed and does nothing to detract from the Spalding's words.

Edit: The journal entries and editor's narrative after the car accident in Ireland are powerful and harrowing. I wrote the above review, ironically, right before I got to the part of the book where the accident occurs. Up until that point, I was enjoying the book, winking along with Spalding Gray and thinking what an interesting, articulate person he was. Figuring I had gone through the bulk of the material, I wrote the review above. After the accident, the full catastrophe of Spalding's despair and his ultimate submission to his obsession with death is fully revealed. I was moved very much, and empathize with the friends and family who had to watch his suffering, and their loss.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It makes me so sad to be happy, October 26, 2011
By 
liz (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Journals of Spalding Gray (Hardcover)
This was not an easy book to read. While the subject of Gray and the memories of his filmed monologues draw you in, there was so much in his journals that were disturbing and terrifying (and a warning, also sexually explicit). That said, I mostly enjoyed the experience, but immediately afterwards found myself feeling so sad for the man. Yes, he was selfish, obsessive, and haunted by his mother's suicide, but throughout this not-quite-biography you wait, in vain, hoping there is a life force that remains for Gray, that you will not have to face the reality of the end. It does make me curious about his other books and films, and Steven Soderbergh's documentary And Everything is Going Fine (2010).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really for The Dedicated Fan, January 12, 2012
By 
DPK (United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Journals of Spalding Gray (Hardcover)
Amusingly, the thing that introduced me to Spalding Gray, Swimming to Cambodia (and Jonathan Demme's film version of it), is among the topics that figure least in the journals collected here. In that light, had Swimming to Cambodia been the sum total of my interest in Gray and his work, these journals probably would have been tough going. Having read the majority of his monologues as well as the novel The Impossible Vacation, though, I found that they shed some interesting light into both the man and his work (as if those elements could ever truly be separated for Gray). Certainly there are times when his treatment of those around him, especially Renee, is troubling, but if you're at all familiar with the larger body of Gray's work these details are far from shocking. What ultimately emerges from the journals, which are presented with some very helpful annotation to give context about what was going on in Gray's life in the periods in question, is a compelling portrait of a unique artist who struggled to find the right balance between being good at his work and being a good human being. The sad part, which these journals make clear, is that for all his faults and flaws, he seemed to be on his way to finding that balance before events out of his control intervened and set him on the path that led to his death. Thankfully, while the artist is gone, the work survives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you have liked Gray's unique voice in his monologues, July 10, 2014
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Engaging and haunting, the journals enrich our sense of this artist who was haunted by the suicide of his mother, severely injured in a car crash, and driven finally to his own suicide. If you have liked Gray's unique voice in his monologues, you will be gripped and moved by this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 7, 2014
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I love this guy!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for the Gray fan, November 24, 2013
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This review is from: The Journals of Spalding Gray (Hardcover)
A great gift for the Spalding fans. The journals are revelatory of the brilliant mind. A view into a life cut far too short.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and moving, February 23, 2013
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While I never saw Spalding Gray in the theater I've always found his monologues fascinating. Reading about his life through his journals opens up a whole different perspective. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. It's a constant battle between deep personal flaws and innate artistic talent. You know it ends badly, but the victories along the way are well worth the adventure. He has left quite a legacy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Does the Truth Diminish?, September 16, 2012
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This review is from: The Journals of Spalding Gray (Hardcover)
Before one reads Spalding's private journal, fair warning. That man on stage, the one sitting at the desk with a glass of water and a notebook; he's dead now. So before you read this book understand that he has no further appeal to whatever judgement you may come to. And remember, of course, that these are his private thoughts and most likely not meant to be published at all. Most of us have character flaws, even perversions, that we keep to ourselves. But someone did publish it, and I presume made a handsome profit in doing so. Shame on them for that. Having said that, the book thankfully did not ruin my opinion of his monologues. In them he somehow manages to make me laugh at his neurotic nightmares. Now that I know that those horrors were quite real to him, I find myself questioning my compassion.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great theater; poor journals, January 11, 2014
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Spaulding turns out to be just a regular guy, looking to get laid. Drama turns mundane in day-to-day events. Disappointing.
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The Journals of Spalding Gray
The Journals of Spalding Gray by Spalding Gray (Hardcover - October 18, 2011)
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