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Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art Paperback – March 7, 2006
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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.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I remembered Wilder from "Young Frankenstein," but other than that, knew little about him, including his marriage to Gilda Radner. This was an advantage, since I approached the book without preconceived expectations.
Having enjoyed the interview, I bought the audio CD version, and listened to it in the evening over several weeks while nursing a bad back. Audio books read by the author are usually a good buy, because the author adds meaning through pronunciation, timing, and inflection. Moreover, Wilder as an actor knows how to deliver his lines.
He has spent his life as an intelligent misfit, and most of the book is taken up with his efforts to adjust to an outside world that proved both friendly and hostile. Thus his use of the psychiatrist Margie as a foil. One reader review suggests that Margie is merely a "hackneyed and lame device." I disagree; it's clear to me that Wilder has undergone psychoanalysis throughout his adult life, and because he prefers women to men, I suspect that the model for Margie actually exists.
The best parts of the book are his descriptions of various movies he worked in and people he has known. He makes a good case for at least some of the people in that world being decent, while excoriating others. I found his descriptions of dealing with racial issues to be particularly thoughtful and moving.Read more ›
There are two camps in these reviews. People who blindly give this book 5 stars and say they love Gene Wilder. But they never actually tell us what they thought was so great about this book. WHY do they give it five stars?
The other group, generously giving this book 2 stars, comments on his narcissism, his unwillingness to feel needed by anyone in his life, his current wife's greatest asset being that she hangs poetry on her refrigerator reminding her she is on her own.
Here's the thing. Gilda Radner loved Gene Wilder unconditionally, even to the day she died. She loved every thing about him, even his insistence on pushing her away. She loved the way he smelled, his looks, his humor, his mind, his character. She loved him totally. Gene Wilder on the other hand, doesn't seem to have loved her at all. He seems at best to have tolerated her---and that not very well or consistently. In one chapter he describes not having had sex with Gilda for about 6 months, (because she had had a grapefruit sized tumor removed from her body, was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation!) and perhaps as a tribute to what he sees as his own nobility, comments that he didn't ask her to "relieve" him in other ways. He then goes on to describe how, as a result of his deprivation he was of course immediately attracted to the woman who became his fourth wife, when he saw her skirts swishing about her legs.Read more ›
If a friend had given it to me as their autobiography and asked me for an opinion I'd tell them that it needed 'fleshing out'.
That's not to say it's a bad book - it really, really isn't! It's warm, funny, sad and an enjoyable read...but there are gaps: if you weren't a Gene Wilder fan, you'd have thought he'd made no films after 'Hear No Evil' as it's the last movie he mentions. Okay, as GW says, this isn't so much a biog as events in his life which have made an impact on his life (Serendipity?), but a better sense of 'history' would have been appreciated.
Now maybe I'm being a bit picky as I've been a fan of GW's since Young Frankenstein and would have preferred reading a 'proper' sutobiography with all his movies and recent TV work chronicled. I also have no sense of his family during this time: yes, we know how his marriage is failing, his adopted daughter angry...but they almost appear to be 'bit players' in the overall scheme of things. What did they think of his fame? How did they cope with that? What were THEY doing whilst GW made movies, etc.?
This work really ends with him getting over cancer and enjoying life with his current wife, Karen (nice Review Karen, BTW) and that's nice and warm and fuzzy...but it almost comes across as if his life has stopped somehow. And that's not true; even if you didn't know he'd recently worked in Theatre, you'd have seen Gene in Will & Grace, or his TV Movies, all of which garnered praise.
The writing style is easy to read and bounces along nicely, but there seems to me an underlying anger which was never really expressed in the words on the page, and oddly enough that sums up a lot of GW's life.
I only wish he'd told us more...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have admired and loved Gene Wilder for many years. He's a wonderful actor, and human being. This book was well written, and informative. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Carol Wong
I listened to Gene read it himself (and read along with it), and I believe it helped add to the story he told. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Cassandra Kaiser
Gene's books are very easy reads. It takes about 90 seconds and you feel like he is there telling you a story. Read morePublished 6 months ago by IMAD!man
This is a pretty in depth book about Gene Wilder. He doesn't seem to hold anything back. If you are a Gene Wilder fan, you should read this.Published 7 months ago by Ginger Geronimo
Unexpectedly good. The weaving of personal and professional friendships, relationships, and serendipitous encounters genuine and thought provoking. I enjoyed the book very much.Published 10 months ago by A Happy Hildegard