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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
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Some of the most exciting things that happened in my life took place before I turned six years old. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, which is awesome right there, but three weeks later, before I even had time to work on my tan, we moved to Japan. JAPAN. The home of my most favorite food ever: mashed peas. Well, that was probably my favorite food back then; what a waste, since I could have been eating spicy tuna rolls with extra wasabi. Damn you, Baby Lauren, and your infantile palate! Well, to be fair, you were an infant. Sorry I yelled.
In Tokyo, we lived with my grandmother for a while, and I had a Japanese nanny, or uba—which, incidentally, translates to “milk mother,” something I just found out by looking it up. (Hold, please, while I call my therapist.) Her name was Sato-san, and I loved her, and as a result, my first word was in Japanese. It was o-heso. You might think that’s Japanese for “mommy” or “daddy,” but no, o-heso is Japanese for “belly button,” which I think already proves I am a very unusual, deep, and contemplative person and there’s really nothing left to say, thank you for buying this book, the end.
Wait, a few more things. My mother, the daughter of missionaries, had grown up in Japan and spoke fluent Japanese. She was also incredibly smart and beautiful, a combination that led to my grandmother holding me while we watch my mother, who is on television! Back when there were just three channels in America, and maybe even fewer in Tokyo, and an air of mystery surrounding the whole thing—not like today, when the statistical probability of not at some point stumbling onto your own reality show is inconceivably low. Television had only recently been invented then, and there she was actually on it, and I was so little I was probably just thinking about mashed peas again. Or, more likely, my favorite subject: belly buttons.
In related news, apparently on some GikiWoogle-type page of mine, I am quoted as saying, “Belly buttons are important.” Which, while obviously sort of true, medically speaking, taking into account the life-giving properties of the umbilical cord, was also clearly a joke. Yet I can’t tell you how many times during an interview a journalist gets that somber I’m-going-in-for-the-kill look I love so much and asks me, with knitted-brow faux sincerity: “Do you really think belly buttons are important?” Let me clear the air once and for all: um, no, I do not. Although this book isn’t very long yet and I’ve already talked about belly buttons quite a bit. Damn you, tabloid journalists! You wise Truth Uncoverers! Again, sorry—the yelling must stop.
So, anyway, there she was, my mother, on the largest television available at the time, which was roughly the size of a Rubik’s cube. Also, check out her dope sixties Priscilla Presley look! Her ability to speak the language as a non-native was so unusual at the time that she was asked to appear on a Japanese daytime talk show.
My parents weren’t together very long. They hadn’t known each other well when they decided to get married, and then they had me right away, when they were both just twenty-two years old, and—well, that about sums it up. They were very, very young. At the time, my mom was also trying to pursue a career as a singer, and it was decided I should stay with my dad. They parted as friends, and my father made the obvious next choice, something we’d all probably do in this situation: he moved us to the Virgin Islands, where we lived on a houseboat. I slept in a bunk-bed-type thing that was also the kitchen. I was picked up for nursery school by the bus, which was actually a motorboat. We moved there because . . .
You know what? I don’t remember exactly. Let’s call my dad and ask him. He probably won’t pick up because he’s on the East Coast, and it’s a Saturday in the springtime, so unless it’s pouring down rain, he’s out playing golf. But I’ll give you a visual just in case, so you too can play Call My Dad at home!
I know, isn’t it a shame we look nothing alike? Okay, let’s see if he’s home. Ring, ring, ring, ring. I told you. He’s probably not—
Me: Oh, hi! I didn’t think you’d be home.
Dad: It’s raining here.
Me: Well, then, that explains it. Hey, remind me—why did we live on a houseboat that time?
Dad: Who is this?
Me: You have other children you lived on a houseboat with?
Dad: No, I have other children who call me more.
Me: Dad, please. I call you all the time. So this is for the book, and—
Dad: Is this going to be another befuddled father character, like in your last book?
Me: Dad, I wouldn’t call that character befuddled in general. He’s just a little befuddled by technology.
Dad: Wait—what did you say? I couldn’t hear you. I just hit one of these dumb phone buttons wrong.
Me: Um, yeah. I was just saying that the father character in my first novel—the New York Times bestseller Someday, Someday, Maybe, published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, and now available in paperback—is not exactly befuddled, and anyway, he’s only a little bit you.
Dad: Why are you talking like that?
Me: Like what? I was just thinking about how Christmas is right around the corner, but no matter how you choose to celebrate the holidays, books in general make great gifts!
Dad: Like that. Like you’re selling things to an audience. Are you on Ellen right now?
Me: Dad, I wouldn’t be calling you from the set of Ellen.
Dad: Oh, oh, I’m fancy, I live in Hollywood, where people aren’t allowed to call their fathers from the set of the Ellen show.
Me: Dad, please. Why did we live on the houseboat again?
Dad: Well, I was working for that congressman, and the hours were long, and I’d drop you off in the morning and not see you until after 6:00 p.m., and I felt bad about that. I wasn’t sure I was on the right career path anyway. Also, I was sort of seeing this girl—you remember the one who owned the horse? Well, she lived there off and on, and I thought I’d go there too, and write, and . . .
I’m going to interrupt my father here (well, actually, he’s still talking, so shhh—don’t tell him). But I have to explain to you that, as a kid, I thought my father never dated anyone at all until he met and married my stepmother. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out the young ladies who sometimes came around may have been a wee bit more than the “cat sitter,” that “nice woman I play tennis with,” and the “girl who owned the horse.” And I don’t blame them. I mean, who wouldn’t want to “cat-sit” for this guy?
By the way, can we talk about the unnecessary thickness of children’s belts of the 1970s? I mean look at the— Oops, my dad’s still on the phone!
Dad: . . . and anyway, she knew these people at the marina in St. Thomas.
Me: So did we, like, sail around the island and stuff?
Dad: Oh, no. The engine didn’t work on the boat.
Me: The engine didn’t . . .? We lived on a giant floating bathtub that went nowhere?
Dad: It was a strange place, I’ll admit, that marina— but friendly. Very bohemian. Everybody there was sort of dropping out from society, which we were too, in a way—for weeks after we’d left D.C., I’m pretty sure my mother still thought I worked on Capitol Hill. But I got to spend more time with you, which was the goal. It was beautiful there. We drove around a lot and went to the beach. It probably seems strange to you now, but it was a 1970s thing to do, I guess. And we had fun.
(A pause as we both reminisce.)
Me: You did a lot for me, Dad. I love you.
Dad: I love you too, kid.
Dad: Who is this again?
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780425285176
- ISBN-13 : 978-0425285176
- Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.95 x 8.53 inches
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; First Edition / First Printing (November 29, 2016)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0425285170
- Best Sellers Rank: #34,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
When I first heard about this book, I thought oh Lauren Graham has written her autobiography and it will be a great read because I am a fan. I put her in the fan bias category, that I would say most autobiographies by famous people achieved. You know the category of I will love this because I am already a fan of theirs.But after reading this book, thats not the category for it anymore. I rated this book five out of five stars because I will reread this book over and over again to learn more from Lauren and the lessons of life she has laid out for us. This is that kind of book where today you might feel one way but if you read it five years from now you might understand something she wrote better or differently, and for that reason I love this book. It is positively well written, very short for only 204 pages long. I can't say enough about how much I love and would recommend this book to anyone
Top reviews from other countries
But for me, the best part was her recap of all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. I even managed to feel a little teary as she talked about the show being cancelled after season 7 and the uncertainty that meant they never really had a chance to celebrate the shows success or say goodbye.
If you are one of the few who haven't yet seen Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life you may want to skip the last chapter as it does contain spoilers. However, it doesn't spoil the last four words.
I've seen a few interviews with Lauren, and its safe to say that she has managed to capture her personality between the pages.
I would recommend to anyone.
I finished the book in no time at all and it was that good I am reading it again.
All of the reasons everyone loves Lauren Graham are reflected in her book. Her smart wit and bubbly personality radiates through the chapters, and is a great little pick me up of a book. Great for those times when you need something easy to read which will make you feel good about yourself. It's like she's brewed you a fresh pot of coffee and is sharing her life with you personally.