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Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice Hardcover – February 13, 1997
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Amazingly, this second volume of Peter O'Toole's memoirs (the first was Loitering with Intent: The Child, published in March 1995) covers only three years of the actor's life; even more amazingly, it's a wonderful read. If he hadn't been such a prodigiously gifted actor, O'Toole could have made it as a writer. His prose is discursive, freewheeling, multilayered, and fairly bursting with exuberant vitality. Loitering with Intent: The Apprentice covers O'Toole's years in the early 1950s at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he studied his craft, hobnobbed with fellow students (including Albert Finney, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship), and made rakish, footloose excursions around London. It's hard to say whether he had more fun in the living of it or the retelling, but both are a pleasure for the reader to behold.
From Publishers Weekly
The second volume of O'Toole's autobiography (after The Child, 1993) begins in 1953 as O'Toole, 21, leaves the British Navy to begin his training at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The prose is, as it was in the first volume, by turns enchanting and maddening, a mix of schoolboy high spirits and British theatrical slang, told in the rolling Irish rhythms of the practiced barroom storyteller. Just as his work in film and theater has varied from the brilliant to the histrionic, O'Toole the autobiographer is by turns charming, self-indulgent, hilarious, long-winded, obscure and witty. Readers looking for celebrities will find an anecdote or two about Richard Burton and Albert Finney, but for the most part O'Toole's method is that of Joyce by way of the pub raconteur, with the focus on the everyday details of a student's life in mid-1950s London. There are acknowledgments of his debt to his teachers at the academy, an affectionate account of his love affair with a Jewish girl from Chicago he called "the Hopi," instructions on how to wash a pair of socks without soap and on how to make a theatrical prompt book and such nutty digressions as a potted history of the English Civil War. Running throughout are O'Toole's invocations of the spirit of the 19th-century actor Edmund Kean, the symbol of O'Toole's passion for the tradition of the English stage. American readers are likely to be frustrated by the slang and the references to long-dead and obscure British theatrical figures, but they are also not likely to read a more passionate and entertaining evocation of the life of a young actor. Photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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