September is the best month of the year. Mostly because it happens to contain my birthday. Some people celebrate 12 days of Christmas. In my family, we celebrate 12 days (or more) of birthday. This year for my birthday month, I’m gonna share with you some of my favorite recent biographies. My first post features America’s Most Manic Mug – Robin Williams. My next post will feature my childhood hero – Dr. Seuss, so stay tuned for that.
I’ve been a fan of Robin Williams for my whole life. I remember watching Mork & Mindy when I was little and loving it. It must have been in reruns because the show was cancelled before I was 3. I would love to watch it again to see how it’s stood the test of time, but nobody has released it. (Sorry, the library can’t help with this one, sad face.) If any Hulu execs are watching – hint.
Itzkoff’s recent(ish) book, simply entitled Robin, gives us all the details about the life of this crazy guy. Having watched a lot of his movies, I felt like I knew Robin a bit, but I learned so much from reading this book. I had no idea that he was born in the Midwest (in Michigan) and then moved to San Francisco. His family had a little bit of money, so Robin attended several different private schools. I think I remember hearing that he’d gone to Julliard, but I didn’t realize how new the program was when he was there under Houseman.
Initially, I checked out the audio book because I’m constantly on the lookout for things that will keep me out of trouble as I sit in traffic. (What? she asks angelically.) This one captivated me from the start, so in addition to my car, I started listening in my office. Then I turned on the book while I was cooking at home. I couldn’t get enough, it was so interesting. The audio reader did a good job mimicking Robin’s voice whenever he read quotes from the star. It wasn’t over the top but I liked how it broke up the narrative. This book is big, over 400 pages and its about 21 hours of listening, but it was so good, I think I plowed through it in less than a week.
If you get the audio, I still recommend you check out a copy of the print book because there are some excellent pictures tucked into two sections in the middle that you’ll miss out on if you stay strictly audio. Robin was cute when he was little. LOL. The library also has a great HBO documentary called Robin Williams, Come Into My Mind. It was good to watch after reading the book because you got to put faces with names from the book – like Valerie, his first wife, or his son, Zak.
The ending was sad – of course. I knew that going in. However, knowing his history, I thought Robin’s suicide was drug/alcohol fueled. I hadn’t heard about the Parkinson’s or the dementia diagnosis. Such a tragic ending for such a dynamic figure.
I love Robin Williams. Aladdin will be my favorite Disney movie until the end of time simply because of him.
Here he is. Right here. Right from the lamp. For your very much wish fulfillment. Thank yoouuu.
Happy Mr. Happy,