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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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I came late to Gilmore girls, my own daughters recently having convinced me to sit with them to watch all 7 seasons, and then more. But I honestly think that even without ever having watched Gilmore Girls, I would love Lauren's voice in this book, whether in print or audio. If you know her as Lorelai, the audio is a must.
I think it's her self-deprecating humor that is so entertaining. I mean, who can't relate when she tells us of being an apprentice actress and having that moment where she thought she'd be the next star, and was building all these fantasies in her head within a matter of seconds or where her life was going to go from there, only to come crashing down when it was revealed that what she mistook as cheering was actually laughter at a blunder she made? The book is full of such stories, but it digresses in a million different directions in her stream of consciousness style of writing, as if she's having a conversation with you at the kitchen table. In fact, she sounds very much like Lorelai, so you wonder how much Lauren's personality actually inspired Lorelai's. Or wait, is it the other way around?
Even though it's extremely funny, the book is full of surprisingly good advice. Like "don't ever buy a book about diets, it's an absolute waste of money. I will tell you right here the big Hollywood secret about dieting..." or "women should lift each other up" or "if you're a writer, try the brilliant kitchen timer method and you'll never look back..." But instead of preachy, it sounds like this great conversation you're having with a good girlfriend who knows you better than anyone else.
I was a little reluctant at first buying this book because of some of the reviews saying she strayed off topic too much, too disorganized, etc etc. Well, I should have known. Her writing style is actually what I LOVE about this book, the way she mentions her editor getting mad at her for saying what she just did, and her many shout outs to the hosts of various TV shows.
Buy the book. And the audio book. You won't be disappointed.
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.