Even This I Get to Experience

Norman Lear. Penguin Press, $32.95 (462p) ISBN 978-1-59420-572-9
The television producer whose controversial sit-com hits—All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, One Day at a Time—virtually defined the culture of the 1970s looks back on his triumphs and vexations in this feisty, thoughtful autobiography. Lear vents sharply conflicted feelings about nearly everyone and everything: his father, a charismatic con-man; his mother, a sour woman who constantly disparaged him (when he made Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans she noted he was near the bottom of the list); Carroll O'Connor, a sublime Archie Bunker but also a megalomaniac forever threatening to shut down the show over script complaints; the United States, which, as founder of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, Lear celebrated in patriotic extravaganzas while deploring patriotic excesses. Lear pens sharply observed studies of the creative process on his many iconic productions and bares plenty of raucous, sometimes bawdy anecdotes—readers get to experience a nude and lewd Jerry Lewis—before the narrative peters out in a third-act haze of nostalgic testimonial and light spiritual rumination. Still, in keeping with the bigoted, mouthy, complex and loveable characters he created, Lear's knack for sizing up a flawed humanity makes for an absorbing read. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/15/2014
Release date: 10/14/2014
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-54517-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-319-5
Book - 978-1-59420-649-8
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-14-312796-3
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