Sunday, May 11, 2008

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, Alan Alda

Title: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
Author: Alan Alda
Rating: Good

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is the autobiography of Alan Alda, aka Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H. Over the years I've heard a few interviews with Alda and he's always sounded interesting, with a childhood spent backstage at burlesque shows and other unusual history. His biography confirms that, along with his mother's mental illness and the difficult relationship he had with his parents in general.

It's a light read. He approaches some serious topics, but does so fairly obliquely, stating what happened to him or what he was thinking, but not making a big deal out of anything or expecting the reader to follow in his footsteps.

If you've wondered what life is like for the kid who was born into a performing family, went into acting early, landed a starring role in M*A*S*H, went on to host Scientific American Frontiers, and then did things like The West Wing, you'll get the gist of it here.

Note that the book was published in 2005, before his roles in The West Wing and a few recent movies. He's got a newer book out now titled Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself that may cover that more recent history.

He's an interesting character, and M*A*S*H was some of the best television ever made as far as I am concerned. While this book isn't going to make anyone's ten best list, it's worth reading if you're a fan.