Monday, August 29, 2011

Twist and Shout

 My Review of Books I Bought For A Dollar at the Dollar Tree

First in a series:  "A Twist Of Lemmon" by Chris Lemmon

Q - What could be worse than being the son of a famous man, especially one who dumped your mother when you were still a tot and then married a woman who did not especially care for you?  

A - Being the son of Jack Lemmon, which brought his son Chris all of the painful moments above, along with being the son of an egomaniacal actor to boot. 

Chris does make a good point in this book: If your father is in show business, and you try to do the same, everyone hollers "Nepotism!"   But, if your father is a butcher, baker or attorney, and you go into his line of work, everyone says, "Hey! That's great! A chip off the old block!"  

Well, no one was about to chip anything off of Jack Lemmon, whom I always considered to be not nearly as funny as he seemed to think he was.  Whatever.  His many awards and hit movies would tend to show that my opinion was not in line with the vast majority, who, to this day, roar with laughter over his acting in "Some Like It Hot" and countless other snoozefests. 
But Chris went into acting, and if you read the book, you'd think he was up there along with his father in fame and fortune.  He mentions all the movies he was in, but fails to add that they were mainly bit parts  - a cop, a guy in an office - that he was given because of his last name.  

And that's fine, really.  If you can find enough roles where you play the cop who's parked in the driveway in a Goldie Hawn movie, you can have a nice career, make a decent dollar and get to play golf with Clint Eastwood.  I feel a little sorry for Chris. He mentions how he hardly had any relationship with his father, and recounts being pushed aside by autograph hounds who spotted his father.  Of course, Jack being Jack, as soon as that happened, he turned on the charm and played to the crowd with that bum-bum-bumbling Everyman goofiness of his, leaving his son adrift in a sea of knees and elbows.  Chris then realized that being a good family man meant more than being a famous man, and he lives in Connecticut with his wife and three kids, happy to be home with them.  Almost every page in this book contains an anecdote that paints Jack as a foul-mouthed drunkard who was rarely home. 

My takeaway from the book is that Chris, although not nearly as famous as his pop, is a much better man.  It really seems that great fame and fortune make it very tough to be a good family man, because making that fortune and fame means not being home in the first place.  

But I'd rather be famous in my own home, and I'm fortunate that way.  Reading "A Twist Of Lemmon" reminded me of that.  

I rate this book $$$$$. Three dollar signs out of five. 

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