It only took John Irving ("A Widow For One Year," "A Son of the Circus") thirty years to break into the movie business. His first attempt cam in 1968, when he was hired to draft a screenplay for his first novel, "Setting Free the Bears." Since that time, Irving has seen three of his novels turned into films, written one original (but, as of yet, unproduced screenplay) and spent thirteen years shepherding his screenplay of "The Cider House Rules" onto the Silver Screen. "My Movie Business" is a record of all that, and more. Because "The Cider House Rules" (screenplay and novel) relies on the subject of abortion as a central issue, Irving starts his memoir by telling us about his grandfather, Dr. Frederick C. Irving. Not only was Dr. Irving chief of staff at Boston Lying-In (one of the world's leading obstetrical hospitals in the early 1900's), he was a writer who cobbled up numerous limericks (many of which live on through medical students) and published three books. Irving's quotes from his grandfather's reveal a "Victorian prose" style that (along with the novels of Charles Dickens) belie an early influence. In writing about grandfather, Irving succinctly sums up his own creed as a novelist: "Grandfather was a man of extreme erudition and unaccountable, even inspired, bad taste; as such, he would have been a terrific novelist, for a good novel is at once sophisticated in its understanding of human behavior and utterly rebellious in its response to the conventions of good taste." Irving uses most of the first nine chapters to educate the reader on the history of abortions in America, detailing his grandfather's personal involvement as well. The author even goes so far as to take a stand on the Right-to-Life movement: "Let doctors practice medicine. Let religious zealots practice their religion, but let them keep their religion to themselves." From there, the author delves into the business of drafting screenplays for Hollywood. It is, Irving realizes, a business of compromise. During the course of developing the film and writing the screenplay, Irving works with no less than four directors (the last one, Lasse Halstrom, saw the film to completion). And in order to make more room for the relationship between Dr. Larch and Homer Wells, Irving has to excise at least one major character and lose all of Homer's history as an orphan. Forced to cut more portions of the film (to make it more stream-lined), he finds that all attempts at humor are excised. As Irving writes, "...these scenes were a comic interlude that would have...reminded my readers of the tone of my novels." In typical Irving fashion, there are digressions, albeit interesting ones. Such as the story about his relationship with Irving Kirshner, who was to direct "Setting Free the Bears"; or that Paul Newman was approached to play Dr. Larch, but was uncomfortable with scenes involving an incinerator; and Irving includes his feelings about the films of his novels "The World According to Garp" and "The Hotel New Hampshire." (The only noticeable exclusion is any mention of "Simon Birch," the Disney version of "A Prayer for Owen Meany," from which Irving disassociated himself). Insightful and informative, "My Movie Business" is a candid glimpse into the film-making process and a hair-raising revelation of how art must always battle commerce in the bottom-line land of Hollywood. (Nov. 1999, San Antonio Express-News).