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Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) Hardcover – November 29, 2016
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About the Author
Lauren Graham is an actor, writer, and producer best known for her roles on the critically acclaimed series Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, Someday, Maybe. Graham has performed on Broadway and appeared in such films as Bad Santa, Because I Said So, and Max. She holds a BA in English from Barnard College and an MFA in acting from Southern Methodist University. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.
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Talking as Fast as I Can starts off extremely strongly, particularly if you listen to the audio (which highlights her acting abilities, including her singing...an added treat). The story begins as a memoir, discussing her upbringing and her jaunt into the wonderful world of acting. So far, so good. Lauren is self-deprecatingly hilarious and an extremely talented all-around artist, which includes a strong aptitude for writing. (Say what you will about the subject matter of the book, but Graham can write). Through the first section, about her early days as an actress in graduate school and then in a theater troupe, I was pleasantly engaged, with two thumbs up.
At that point, one of my thumbs started to waiver. The book, admittedly, takes some unexpected turns in the content department as it teeters between advice column, anecdotal essays, and personal stories, mostly out of chronological order. While it's fine to jump around in time - and it's fine to have a mixture of styles - the combination of styles and time periods is somewhat chaotic here. While I found the writing interesting and fun to hear, I was leaning towards not reviewing the book at this point... lest I not be able to give my girl, Lorelai, five well-earned stars.
Where Lauren starts to draw me back in is around the section that she discusses the importance of women lifting each other up and goes into a tale that focuses on giving advice to a younger generation. I will admit that, again, I wished I was reading more of a memoir, but her authenticity in this portion of the book is palpable. Lauren was twice a guest in the final season of "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," and she struck me then, in 2002 - as she did Rosie and later Ellen - as a true, down-to-earth, funny, kick-butt kind of gal (or something that sounds cooler than that but equally awesome). From those days forward (though I didn't get into Gilmore Girls and obviously Parenthood until much later), I knew I was a fan of Graham. Towards the back-half of the book, I started to recall that feeling: that she was my pal, decoupaging in the craft corner with Rosie.
When I knew, definitively, that I could give this book five stars (and mean it) is in the final section when Lauren discusses the Gilmore Girls revival. She is such a "real" person, and her account is so personal and touching. For fans of the show, this section alone makes Talking as Fast as I Can a must-have. Lauren is gracious and humble with an unbelievable work ethic and a positive attitude. Her stories might be slightly disjointed, but they're uplifting; they're positive; they're the kinds of life affirmations that so many of us need right now. Lauren is confident, self-aware, and legitimately nice... with a large dose of humor thrown in... and she's exactly the kind of role model - a person focused on the work before the glitz, glamour, fame, or fortune - that we should all be looking to for advice in today's world... a world filled with reality shows and Caviar dreams.
Sure, maybe her book is a little quirky. I like quirky. Quirky is a good thing.
So thank you Lauren for giving us a slice of your life and for pouring your heart into your characters that have touched so many of us over so many years. Thank you for being appreciative of your audience and for offering us guidance, taking us under your wing through this writing in a way that only you can.
There are so many (wonderful) things I want to say about her book that it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where to begin. Graham’s prose has an effortless, familiar feel to it. Like the soft voice of a friend over a casual cup of coffee. It’s obvious she’s a writer, and an extremely talented one at that.
One of the things I was worried about before I started reading was that it might only focus on her life as it related to Gilmore Girls. While that would have still been a thoroughly enjoyable read, fans (at least fans like me) read memoirs to learn about the real person and their real life. In learning about their lives, we feel as though we’ve left the world of fandom and entered the world of friendship. And Graham’s memoir delivers a perfect blend of personal and professional to us.
Talking as Fast as I can contains two large chapters where Graham recaps the actual filming experience of Gilmore Girls. The first, positioned near the beginning of the book, covers the original series, and the last, positioned near the end of the book, covers the revival. The remainder of the book follows Graham throughout her life from childhood to present. We learn a little about her family, about her upbringing and education, and, of course, about how she became the actress we love today. She’s witty, inspirational, and utterly entertaining.
But it’s more than just a simple sharing of random moments of her life. You can tell that each story, each chapter, each word has been chosen with care and caution. It’s neither too short nor too long; it is just perfect. As her agent had once told her after reviewing her first novel, there are some publishers who will buy and sell anything (whether it’s good or not) a celebrity writes just because they know it will sell. She refers to those kinds of books as “Monkey Doodles.” I can assure you this book is anything but a Monkey Doodle. This is a wonderful book. An eloquently written book. One every fan should read.
I came away from the book an even bigger fan. I’ve actually just started binging Parenthood and oh my… what a fantastic show. And I plan on reading her debut work of fiction, Someday, Someday, Maybe, as well as pretty much everything else she writes. Lauren is a warm and engaging woman who hasn’t let her success go to her head. And I’m very excited to see where her career and talents take her next.
If you’re a fan of Gilmore Girls or of Lauren herself, and even if you’re not, take a few hours a get to know this talented and wonderful human being. If you weren’t a fan of hers at the outset, you will be in the end.
This book was reviewed outside of the request of the publisher and/or author.