Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lady Parts by Andrea Martin

Lady Parts
by Andrea Martin
ISBN: 978-1-44340-939-1
Buy from Indigo

Description: Whether lighting up the small screen, stealing scenes on the big screen or starring on the stage, Andrea Martin has long entertained Canadians with her hilarious characterizations and heartwarming performances. An important player in SCTV, the funniest show ever to come out of Canada, Martin helped change the face of television by introducing us to a host of characters, including the indomitable Edith Prickley. Martin has worked stages, sets and even trapezes across North America, playing to houses packed with adoring fans, all of whom instantly recognize the star who has entertained us for nearly forty years.

In Lady Parts, Martin, for the first time, shares her fondest remembrances of a life in show business, motherhood, relationships, no relationships, family, chimps in tutus, squirrels, and why she flies to Atlanta to get her hair cut. Martin opens up her heart in a series of eclectic, human, always entertaining and often moving essays. Lady Parts will make you giggle and may make you cry-a powerful collection of stories by a woman with a truly storied life

The Good Stuff
  • I had to request this one as I have been told all my life that I look like her (Even Gordon Pinsent)  and well quite frankly I grew up on SCTV
  • Such a beautiful, honest, open and bloody hilarious memoir
  • Excellent choice with title, but Fake Beaver and Perky Tits would have been wonderful titles as well, though might be hard to market in a family bookstore
  • After reading her memoir I even feel more close to her.  Especially the parenting aspects and the low self esteem about ones body
  • Enjoyed the story of her first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
  • Silly I know but it made me happy when she mentioned Nora Short, who went to nursing school with my mom
  • I admire her openness about talking about her battle with Bulimia, that takes courage my twin
  • Balled my eyes out when she begs forgiveness from her children about not being present while fighting her battle with Bulimia - That is very open and I believe helpful those that might be still fighting this battle
  • The story about Snow Whites inner thoughts - priceless
  • She loves Libraries
  • The chapter on Old Lady Parts is worth the price of the book alone (and I totally understand)
  • Truly did make me laugh and cry.  
  • Perfect for fans of Andrea, but as well as any women over the age of 30 (Younger women too, but they aren't going to get some things like us old broads)

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Totally flabbergasted that I didn't know she was an American (shocked I tell you, shocked) I's ok I still love you though 

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I had no conception of what I looked like. I had always  adapted to what other people wanted me to be. Without their input my face was a blank canvas."

"I will still camp out on Toronto mayor Rob Ford's front lawn if he brings up the ludicrous and decadent idea of closing libraries again."

"Recently, I accepted the invitation to write a monthly humour column for ParentsCanada magazine. What was I thinking? I don't remember my kids' names, never mind the way I parented them nearly thirty years ago. Except hat I was anxious all the time. Worried that I was not doing it right, whatever "Doing it right| is supposed to mean."

4.75 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review - Thanks Cory!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

So, Anyway by John Cleese

So, Anyway
by John Cleese
Doubleday Canada (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-68024-0
Buy from Indigo

Description: Candid and brilliantly funny, this is the story of how a tall, shy youth from Weston-super-Mare went on to become a self-confessed legend. En route, John Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public appearance, at St Peter’s Preparatory School at the age of eight and five-sixths; his endlessly peripatetic home life with parents who seemed incapable of staying in any house for longer than six months; his first experiences in the world of work as a teacher who knew nothing about the subjects he was expected to teach; his hamster-owning days at Cambridge; and his first encounter with the man who would be his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman. And so on to his dizzying ascent via scriptwriting for Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Feldman and others to the heights of Monty Python.

Punctuated from time to time with John Cleese’s thoughts on topics as diverse as the nature of comedy, the relative merits of cricket and waterskiing, and the importance of knowing the dates of all the kings and queens of England, this is a masterly performance by a former schoolmaster.

The Good Stuff
  •  It's written by John Cleese - need I say more (Grew up with British Television loving parents so I was introduced quite early to the brilliance of Cleese and his mates)
  •  Just thoroughly enjoyed his candor with the fact that he was writing his book his way and just didn't give a fuck what anyone thought.  He just shares his thoughts and his experiences and doesn't mince words
  •  Enjoyed his reasoning for including some of the skits in the book and his reasoning is hilarious (oh and so are the skits)
  • I feel a connection with him based on the fact that I also detest know-it-alls (See pg 26). 
  • I enjoyed his commentary on the British Press and very much appreciated his candor
  • Loved the story about Geoffrey Tolson and the instance which led to the creation of  the beginning of the  sex lesson scene in The Meaning of Life.
  • Fascinating paragraphs on the description of humour
  • Ok its silly I know but I really enjoyed his commentary on Canadians
  • Loved how he described Graham Chapman's coming out and the conversation between Pippa and Cleese about Graham coming out  - wonderful stuff and quite worth the price of the book
  • Thought he quite eloquently expressed the difficulty as a celebrity in dealing with request for autographs, charity, etc.  And how he has dealt with it.   (See pages 320-322)
  • As a fan of many British actors, I enjoyed hearing stories about Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Felman, Peter Cook etc
  • Learned that he was French-kissed on  camera by Tim Curry (Check it out - Damn I wish Tim Curry had written a biography
  • I finally understood that Cleese is a writer who performed, not the other way around

The Not So Good
  • Far more serious than I expected. Not really a bad thing, more of a heads up
  • I wanted more stories about his time working on the Monty Python movies and a Fish Called Wanda
  • A little too much psychology for me, but again, not a bad thing just a heads up and it is his book so he can talk about whatever he wants to

Favorite Quotes/Passages (Sorry so many to choose from, I just didn't)

"I think Dad was secretly proud of his Jewish connections; in an age where there was so much prejudice, he did what he could to work against it, although hew was prepared (with Mother) to make an exception of the Welsh. This is a well-established West Country trait, and rooting it out will take may generations I fear."

"BRITISH JOURNALISTS tend to believe that people who become good at something do so because they seek fame and fortune. This is because these are the sole motives of people who become British journalists. But some people, operating at higher levels of mental health, pursue activities because they actually love them."

"A good sense of humour is the sign of a  healthy perspective, which is why people who are uncomfortable around humour are either pompous (inflated) or neurotic (oversensitive)"

"It's just a shame that for seven months of the year it's so cold that only Canadians would put up with it."

"Nowadays I have a simple rule: you can ask me anything you like, provided I can say "No"."

4 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review