|Ham: Slices of a Life
"When I was nineteen years old, while helping my aunt Betty reorganize her kitchen cabinets, I discovered a beaten and worn plastic Mary Poppins cup and saucer marooned in the back corner of an ignored shelf. They were issued in 1964, the year of the movie's release. My aunt told me they'd been intended for me when I was little, but my father had returned them to her because I was 'too obsessed with Mary Poppins and singing and dancing.'"
For fans of David Sedaris and Chelsea Handler, these stories and essays about friendship, celebrity, growing up and getting sober will have you laughing and crying in equal measure.With a wry style that evokes comparisons to Carrie Fisher, David Rakoff, and Steve Martin, Sam Harris proves that he is a natural humorist. Even The New York Times, in a review of one of his musical performances, called his stories “New Yorker-worthy.”
Brilliantly written, these sixteen stories span Harris’s life from growing up gay in the buckle of America’s Bible belt to performing on Oprah’s first show after 9/11. In “I Feel, You Feel” he opens for Aretha Franklin during a blizzard. “Promises” is a front-row account of Liza Minnelli’s infamous wedding to “the man whose name shall go unmentioned.” In the title story, “Ham,” he describes how he was upstaged by a young child actor, unknowingly addicted to the spotlight.
Taking on issues as diverse as addiction, fame, and parenting with his hilarious and deeply human voice, Harris’s entertaining tales trace an arc of personal triumph that is universally accessible and inspiring.
I never do this. I could barely bring myself to. But: I had to abandon this book at the 47% mark - it was just too much work for me to finish. I kept forcing myself back to it, and I have so many other books I want to read. It was cute but not really up my alley, and SO not similar to David Sedaris, as it was marketed. I think it was a good memoir and great for someone who is dazzled by stars, but I just wasn't getting much out of it. Perhaps I will return to it someday, but for now - I have to abandon it for the sake of other books.
I hate giving up on a book. But I have to be more picky for the time being. When you keep checking the percentage-done on your Kindle, you know you ought to move on...
P.S. Full disclosure: I received this via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. And I'm not rating it here, since I did not finish it.
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