sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer) wrote,

Read: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, by Dick Van Dyke (2017-2)

Dick Van Dyke is just one of those people who has always been there in my life. Now in his 90s, he's starred in so many things that were formative to my childhood (his titular show, _Mary Poppins_, _Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang_...) and even my adulthood that he's like someone I actually know, except, of course, that I don't.

Finding out that he'd written an autobiography ... and that I could get it on Kindle for not-too-much-money ... was a delight. Now having read it, it still is.

The writing style is just a _little_ bit flat: but if you can hear his voice saying the words, which I did after a while, the flatness disappears. It's written exactly the way Dick Van Dyke talks.

So. He was born in 1925 and grew up in the Midwest. He served in the Air Force and discovered that he had a gift of making people laugh; when he left the military, he went into show business and, seventy years or so later, is still there.

The book is revealing without being tell-tale-y. That is, he mostly tells on himself: his smoking problems, his drinking problems, and the affair that led to the end of his marriage. No scandals about other Hollywood stars here ... which is very much in keeping with Van Dyke's character. He started out as a "good boy" who seriously considered going into the ministry; overall, he stayed that "good boy" despite some trespasses, and stood seriously by a commitment made early on that he would never appear in a show he'd be embarrassed to take his children (grandchildren ... now great-grandchildren...) to.

To be clear, this book isn't a laugh fest. That is, there are laughs, and plenty of them, but they aren't the heart of the book. The heart of the book is Van Dyke's portrayal of himself, which seems honest enough.
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