Paul and Me: Fifty-Three Years of Adventures and Misadventures with My Pal Paul Newman
A. E. Hotchner. Nan A. Talese, $26.95 (234pp) ISBN 978-0-385-53233-4
Author and playwright Hotchner (Papa Hemingway) met Paul Newman in 1955, when the unknown actor took over for James Dean in Hotchner's first teleplay, beginning a friendship that lasted until the legendary actor's 2008 death. Chronicling that friendship, Hotchner presents a meandering collection of stories about their times and projects, including the successful business they started together. Vignettes feature the two fishing, traveling, and developing the Newman's Own brand, spreading the familiar news of Newman's nice-guy reputation, rigorous preparation for specific roles, penchant for practical jokes, philanthropic efforts, political involvement and disdain for rules. Though there's no question that the relationship between them ran deep-one passage finds Newman confiding his guilt over the drug-related death of his son, Scott-the author places himself in the middle of every story, resorts to frequent namedropping, and quotes extensively from private conversations that took place decades ago, giving the proceedings a queasy current of self-regard that could rub fans the wrong way.
Reviewed on: 03/22/2010