16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This third installment of memoirs by the brilliant and eclectic author Larry McMurtry is a brief look at his life in Hollywood as a screenwriter and owner of several books made into movies. Somewhat anecdotally, McMurtry traces his early beginnings in Hollywood, following the path of writing, awards, challenges, disappointments and situations up to the present time. Forthright, authentic, and personal writing adorn the pages of this little book providing a glimpse into the maze of Hollywood and its unforgiving theater. Using short chapters (Chapter 26 is my favorite), McMurtry almost randomly gives wings to his failures as well as his fortunes. It makes for light reading with insightful moments, alternating between the amusing and the poignant.
McMurtry's style of non-fiction writing often feels as though he is gathered in the living room telling stories to people sipping coffee. This makes for an almost folksy, yet highly intelligent approach to writing that touches on several levels. Fun stories abound and we learn about the people in his life in Hollywood and are amazed by the myriad of experiences he had in his career. Flirting with glamour, McMurtry also seems to resist the limelight, finding the life in Hollywood to be shallow and silly at times. His admiration for certain stars--Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson to name two is offset by his disappointment in certain producers, writers, and stars (although he does a good job of avoiding direct criticism). It makes for an enriching read for anyone seeking to understand the world of screenwriting and movie making. Many of the events chronicled are stunning--the salary for a screenplay, the complexities of agents, the time spent making a film, and the attitudes toward writers. All refreshing insights for sure.
On a deeper level, we marvel at the skill and talent of a writer whose works have found their place in Hollywood, television, and bookstores throughout the world. A writer of modern fiction, Westerns, history, essays, and screenplays, his achievements are remarkable. In spite of the light reading and brevity of this book, readers should and can be in awe at the marvelous career of Larry McMurtry.
That said, this book is 146 pages of recollections and stories about people and events. While entertaining, it misses the mark on emotional content and we never quite connect to the anguish nor the successes. Almost as though we are taking a tour and hearing about McMurtry's life in Hollywood from a tour guide. We may be curious as to the anxieties, fears, and elations of McMurtry's world of Hollywood, but this book does not satisfy that curiosity. Yet, to be fair, much of his writing style in fiction and non-fiction is presented in a cavalier manner, forcing the reader to find the emotion in the people and in the situations. One of the best lines occurs on page 71, "Best not to professionalize a passion, as lovers the world over have discovered when they marry and notice a cooling."
I enjoyed this book and am glad to have read it (kind of expensive for 146 pages), but of the three, I enjoyed Books the most. In fact, it is intriguing that throughout this book about Hollywood, the love of books continues to shine. In the end, in spite of the tremendous successes McMurtry has had as a writer and a recipient of numerous awards, his true love seems to be books. When you drop a book scout into Hollywood, he is still ultimately a book scout. Recommended for McMurtry fans and anyone interested in the process of screen and script writing.