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The Dangerous Animals Club Hardcover – September 25, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Stephen Tobolowsky has found his true calling as a storyteller. He is candid, insightful, often profound, and very, very funny, especially when he recounts his adventures in show business. By blending sharp memories of his childhood with astute, adult observations of the world around him, he weaves a spell not unlike Jean Shepherd or Garrison Keillor… but he has a voice all his own, and I love it.”—Leonard Maltin, film critic and author
"Here are some of the dangerous animals you will meet in Stephen Tobolowsky's wise, funny memoir: rattlesnakes, tarantulas, talking dogs, attic raccoons, and Hollywood agents. What a pleasure it is to learn that one of the movies' most interesting character actors is also one of its most interesting characters."—Ken Jennings, author of Maphead and Brainiac
"No one spins yarns and knits them into a lyrical fabric of self like Tobolowsky: deep, warm and a little itchy but you love it."—Marc Maron, host of WTF with Marc Maron
"You know those imaginary dinner parties where you get to invite any five people from history for an evening of amazing conversation? This book is the reason Stephen Tobolowsky has always been one of my five. He is a raconteur of the first order, and I think an evening with Beethoven, Abe Lincoln, and Winston Churchill would be made ever more fascinating for his inclusion. But it’s not just that his stories are compulsively entertaining. It’s that they resound with insight and revelation. Tobolowsky’s stories make me glad I’m alive. And they make me want to throw a dinner party every night."—Jim Beaver, actor in Deadwood and Supernatural and author of Life's That Way
"You already know Stephen Tobolowsky as an actor—his face, if not his name—but in The Dangerous Animals Club he opens his heart, soul and mind to you, along with a lot of belly laughs. He is a modern-day Job in his pursuit of an acting career, or maybe just a meaningful life. The odds seem stacked against him. And yet now, in the middle of his life, it is all within his grasp. Read this book and rejoice!"—Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means
“Funny, highly original, and quirky. Stephen Tobolowsky has written a memoir that is almost as enchanting and lovable as he is. Bravo!”—Linda Bloodworth Thomason
“Hard to find a guy in Hollywood whose colossal loyalty stands right up their with his colossal talent. Now I see what shaped it all. A great book from an uncommon man!”—Harry Thomason
“The actor has plenty of rich material to mine—he has been held hostage at gunpoint by a lunatic, suffered an apocalyptic infestation of fleas, barely eluded a goring by a bull, and auditioned with a broken neck—but the delight of the book is the author’s voice: wry, discursive and full of generous spirit and curiosity […] A copiously examined life rendered with humor and heart.” — Kirkus, Starred Review
“Stories that are quirky, funny and sentimental.” — Publishers Weekly
Praise for Stephen Tobolowsky's work:
"These stories are about life, and about love, and about finding inspiration in anything, and they are told with enthusiasm, and optimism, and joy for life. I hate to sound like I’m overselling it, but I think anyone who has listened to a The Tobolowsky Files will agree: They are a goddamn pleasure."—Dustin Rowles
"The Citizen Kane of podcasts."—DC Pierson of Derrick Comedy
"I LOVE THIS!"—Sarah Silverman
"Great storytelling, beautiful stuff."—Rian Johnson, director of The Brothers Bloom and Brick
About the Author
The quintessential character actor, Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in more than 100 movies and more than 200 television shows in his career (USA TODAY recently noted that he was the ninth most frequently seen actor in film today). Along the way his roles have spanned almost all aspects of being a working actor, from the big-budget and Oscar Award-worthy (as head of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi Burning), to the cult phenomenon (Groundhog Day), to the buzzworthy (Glee). But despite a lifetime devotion to the craft of acting that also includes a classical theater training and a Tony Award nomination, you probably wouldn't recognize him if you saw him on the street. He lives in Los Angeles.
Top customer reviews
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As much as I enjoy watching Tobolowsky act, I think that he might be even better as a writer. The Dangerous Animals Club is a broad collection of stories from Tobolowsky's childhood, relationships and career. He even carefully delves into more contentious subjects such as religion and spirituality.
The element of his writing that struck me the most is that he comes across as very humble. He has had a lot of amazing opportunities in his life and he has a lot of great advice to impart, but it's from the angle of an every man. He writes about life and gives advice from his unique perspective, but does it in a manner that is open and accepting that other experiences might shift his perspective. Tobolowsky comes across as possessing a keen sense of self-awareness.
I enjoyed the entire book, but in particular, I really loved reading about Tobolowsky's childhood. I loved the chapter that the title of the book comes from, as Tobolowsky recounts a childhood club that he formed with friends, in which they set out to catch and collect all of the most dangerous animals that lived in their area. It's hilarious and filled with so much wonder and naiveté.
I definitely related to it with similar things that I did in my own childhood. Tobolowsky's characterization of himself as a child is just really funny. He has this persistence and curiosity that keeps pushing him forward, even when the world is telling him no. It's this attitude that served him well as an adult in the entertainment industry.
The Dangerous Animals Club is a wonderful collection of stories and it's really irrelevant if the reader is aware of his acting career. The collection has a broad reach and I imagine that most readers would find it enjoyable. I hope that Tobolowsky doesn't wait too long to write a follow-up book.
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I can't say enough good things about this book. It's the kind of book you want to hand to a friend who is depressed because Tobolowsky shows you how to see life in a way that makes you appreciate your own life more. He takes the reader from childhood to college and marriage and kids and finds what's hilarious and magical in the daily moments of our lives.
There were times I choked with laughter and woke my husband up because I laughed so hard reading this book. There were times I started to cry. Not because I was sad, but just because he moved me so much. He grabs your heart with his honesty.
This is a book I plan to give to a lot of people at the holidays. Actors and acting students will love it, but so will every person I know. It's the best memoir I've read and -- this sounds sappy -- I think it really changes your life and makes you want to be a more accepting, more compassionate person after you have read it.