Monday, July 21, 2008

July's Book of the Month

I love books. They're fun, educational, and occasionally you'll find $20 in them.
(This actually happened to me when I checked out Prep from the local library. Ah, that was a good day.)
I'll admit that I had reservations about The Chris Farley Show, namely that it was co-written by his older brother, Tom Farley Jr. How objective can a biography be if your brother is one of the authors?

But I picked up an advanced reader's copy at work and plowed through it in about three days. I then lent it to my brother, the comedy writer, who loved it. The reason is that it paints the portrait of a ferociously talented comedian whose love of excess and need for acceptance fed a fatal drug addiction. Farley Jr. and writer Tanner Colby don't hold back, showing in painful detail how Farley never got back on track. It's a tragic, relentlessly readable character study disguised as a celebrity biography.

The neat part of this oral biography is that while the authors don't sugar coat Farley's problems, they show what a decent human being he was as well as his evolution as a comedian. Reading the book, I was hopelessly rooting for Farley to find some salvation. The book's 150 interviews with childhood friends, family members, and loads of SNL alum (David Spade, Lorne Michaels, Tim Meadows) help immeasurably in painting that portrait.

Simply put, this is one of the best biographies I've read in recent years. Another book is coming in August, folks. Get your reading glasses ready.

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