Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Chris Farley Show by Tom Farley, Jr. and Tanner Colby

I do not usually read celebrity biographies. The last one I read was a memoir by Lauren Bacall which I enjoyed sometime in the 1980’s. But Tom Farley is a neighbor, and his son is my son’s friend, so this book came to our house and I started reading it because it was sitting on my kitchen counter. I am happy to say that I was immediately engrossed. The book is a collection of memories of the late comedian Chris Farley, arranged chronologically. Tom Farley (Chris’s older brother) and his co-author Tanner Colby interviewed dozens of people who were close to Chris (family members and friends, both famous and not famous) and strung the bits together to form a coherent portrait of his life. Interspersed between the quotes are brief factual sections that provide some background, but most of the story is told through the voices of those who were interviewed. The structure works very well to keep the story personal and immediate, but still move the action forward.

This book is very sad. Farley’s downward spiral through alcoholism and drug abuse was frighteningly intense. The authors do not sugarcoat or excuse Farley’s behavior and several members of the Farley family and Chris Farley’s immediate circle are open about their own feelings of guilt and failed responsibility. Together all the memories form a collage that I think must accurately reflect Chris Farley’s tortured brilliance. If all celebrity biographies were this good I would read more of them.

(Book 18, 2008)

5 comments:

CitizenReader said...

Great review, Becky, thanks. This came through the library the other day and I almost put it on hold but didn't. I will now for sure. I'm just sorry his is such a sad story. (From CitizenReader--formerly known as Nonanon.)

Susan B. said...

Ah, I remember Chris Farley. How sad.

Susan said...

I love Chris Farley's work - this sounds like an interesting peek into his life. It's so sad that he died before his time - he's probably my favorite SNL comedian, and the world just isn't the same without him :(

Bob Andelman said...

Losing a family member at the tender age of 33 is incredibly tough. It’s even more complicated when that young person lived his existence in a bigger-than-life way, like Chris Farley – and his trials and tribulations are witnessed by millions.

In his new book, The Chris Farley Show, Chris’s older brother, Tom Farley, Jr. – with help from co-author Tanner Colby - pieces together his late brother’s life in the form of an oral history with interviews from most everyone who encountered Chris. This includes family and friends from his youth, on through the “Saturday Night Live” family, and people from his hit movies, including Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, and Beverly Hills Ninja.

The book is an easy, breezy read, and was excerpted last month in Playboy.

You can LISTEN to the Mr. Media/BlogTalkRadio.com interview with Chris Farley's brother, Tom -- who is director of The Chris Farley Foundation -- by clicking HERE!

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