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The Accidental Mouseketeer: Before and After the Mickey Mouse Club Paperback – February 22, 2014
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Before I go into my summarized thoughts about this memoir, I feel the need to express some points relating to some of the comments here. Many have said about the verbosity of Lonnie that seemed too much. It's understandable that the words not commonly used are rather highfalutin to the general public, but keep in mind that he underwent graduate studies in Theatre Arts and had been a writer for quite a long time, as well as being someone whose verbosity forms part of the personality. Isn't a memoir a product of the author's expression of himself? In this context, it's justified that he expresses in deep vocabulary - and it's not a hassle to have a dictionary around to be knowledgeable of what he says and to enlighten your own vocabulary. Also, some say of its length and the presence of bawdy scenes - again, they are part of Lonnie's own expression, and whatever he released in this book is a manifestation of who he is.
It was quite a different perspective from the other books on The Mickey Mouse Club, and this is what I believe to be one that hews closer to reality. As much as the autobiographies of Annette and Bobby (I have not read Paul Petersen's book on the show as of yet) express the joy and sometime struggles of being a performer, what Lonnie shows in his long storytelling (with constant asides) is the aforementioned expressions tinged with honest self-assessment. He's never afraid to admit his mistakes and failings, as well as express his (somehow unpopular in the views of some others) opinions on certain things that does shake the perception of the show. He also knows what he's capable of - even with challenges along the way - and he worked his way to fulfilling the good things associated with his careers. This portrait is quite admirable as a whole, and it's something that could have been more expressed by others (though I cannot interfere with their views, of course).
It's true that he had an illustrious career in media circles, and his experiences are well-documented here. There's also his views on the people involved in his life - of which some don't end prettily, yet they round out the humanity of his life, being imperfect yet reflective. Of course, how he dealt with the Club, from his "accidental" involvement to the increasing boredom of it to the gradual acceptance of being a Mouseketeer, is something worth reading, and that's one of the best parts in this long, winding book.
As far as I know, Lonnie is alive and well, and hopefully he'll continue to have a fulfilling life, with this memoir being a great telling of his whereabouts for the past 70 or so years, and who knows he may have another story to tell.
I happen to live in the surrounding area the author writes a lot about in his formative years, which helps me to maintain some interest. However, one soon gets the impression Burr is simply trying to show off his supreme knowledge of the English language. It's a real turn-off and I am glad others here have pointed it out.
I read two to three books per week. This could have been a very good book on the life of a kid who got lucky. But the author is just too interested in showing off his vocabulary rather than giving fans and admirers a book they can enjoy.
I would have loved to have been able to recommend this book but, unfortunately, I can't.
He is funny and witty as well. There is a particular funny story about how when they were filming the MMC, the boys would be behind the girls in an ending to a dance and had to get extremely close to them. Most of the boys had their hormones raging...except for one. He says, "interestingly Dennis never had a problem with it." (He is referring to Mousketeer Dennis Day, who is gay).
He also does not mince words and is blatantly honest about the Mousketeers who he does not want anything to do with, namely, Bobby Burgess, Tommy Cole and Darlene Gillespie who he says had to be the center of attention all the time and how she and her father did some horrendously cruel things to Annette after it was obvious Annette became the undisputed Star of the show.
All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read from a man who is definitely not one to sugar coat things but is a real, human being, good and bad. I loved the book and would,love to meet Lonnie someday!!