Monday, December 30, 2013

ARC review: Ham: Slices of Life by Sam Harris

 Many thanks to Net Galley and Gallery books for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on January 14, 2014.

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

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

This insomniac's opinion:

See the glowing review above comparing this compilation of stories to seasoned authors and comedians? Makes you want to read the book, doesn't it. How unfortunate that none of the above comparisons were even in the smallest bit accurate. Sigh.

I tried to like this book. We always want to love a book, don't we? I had no idea who Sam Harris was before reading this book, but he seems like a lovely fellow. Admirable, even. However, this book was just not well-written and seemed to be mostly a bunch stories about nothing, held together with abrasive celebrity spottings here and there. This book may read well to those who are fascinated with 70s and 80s celebrities and want to hear stories about how awful they were(with a few exceptions- he really seems to like Oprah, Liza and Bette).

I truly wish the author well in his life and with his family and am very sorry for the discrimination he had to overcome as a gay man in a society that wasn't kind to him. However, this book was not my cup of tea.

Worth staying up all night to read?


Rating. 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for Goodreads.

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