Up Till Now

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Up Till Now
William Shatner and David Fisher, 2008

Note: I was not originally going to read this book as part of this project. I was originally going to read a completely different memoir, by a different actor. My husband objected to my doing a Star Trek unit without something by Shatner. I decided he was probably right, and that the other memoir was out of tone for this week, since it had little to do with The Original Series. Still, stay tuned for my other review soon. (Here's a spoiler: the other book is better.)

Hmph. This book was, on some level, precisely what I expected. Self-deprecating on the surface, while swinging wildly between charming, funny, annoying, boring, and revolting.

It often felt like it was trying too hard to be funny, which has its own tinge of pretension. And I was put off by the style. It's full of constant tangents, like 'commercials' and a weird sense of the middle ground between fact and fiction. Sometimes openly the narration will state that the following “is not true,” but that doesn't make it feel as if the rest of it is true, it just gave me the sense that it's all a show. Since it's all a show, and not an especially enjoyable one, I'm not sure why I should care.

It's not all bad by a long shot. There are portions which are genuinely funny and parts that are genuinely poignant, and it doesn't much matter if they've been embroidered.

Unfortunately, my least favorite parts of the book were the chapter about Star Trek and the end. Shanter comes off as genuinely bemused and bewildered by the success of Star Trek. I understand this, it can be hard to see the impact of art from the ground level, but it doesn't make for compelling reading.

Bewildered might be a good word for the tone of many parts of the book: bewildered by failure, by success, by the feelings and opinions of other human beings... It's more than a little narcissistic under the obvious self-parody.

The last chapter or two, particularly a 'humorous' segment about meeting and wooing his fourth wife, I found boorish and distasteful to read. The stuff about Boston Legal was fine, but I admit to skimming a bit by then.

I get a kick out of Shatner, most of the time, but I didn't get much of a kick out of this book.

2 Stars – An Okay Book


Sally Bibrary said...

Mysteriousbooks was kind enough to bestow upon me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award, and I'd love to show my appreciation by passing it on to you.

I know we don't all collect awards, but if that's the case I'll still take the opportunity to say 'thanks' for such a lovely blog, and to wish you a wonderful weekend. :)

Lindsay said...

Thank you! I don't really go in for the awards, don't really understand it, but it's very sweet, and I thank you for the thought.

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