My Book World
In some ways this is an ordinary celebrity book. Baldwin writes about his acting career, his divorce from a famous actor, his new wife and family, and all his children. But Alec Baldwin also distinguishes himself by sharing how he comes to be an actor. In his preface he tells of his childhood, of wanting to be something one day and something else the next day. Acting allows him to become, in a sense, all of these things through the roles he plays. He also shares with readers about how his childhood of near destitution (his mother and five siblings living on their father’s teaching salary). Most interesting, however, is his quest to find himself, to be true to his desire to balance himself on that fine tightrope of acting for its own sake (the stage, the Broadway stage) and film (its commercial and sometimes lucrative nature). He glosses long lists of books he loves, plays and films he loves, actors (male and female) whom he loves and why. He peppers his writing with pieces of classical music he admires—a sign of a truly educated person.
Baldwin's is a rich life of pursuing happiness and sometimes coming up short but also getting up off the floor and trying again, whether to connect with a new woman or say yes to a new play or tackle the fields of philanthropy or politics. The man is that bright and that secure that he can make these choices and live with them. Because, in his youth, he is soooo good looking (the only reason I watched TV’s Knot’s Landing), he is sometimes approached or accosted by gay men who believe they might get lucky. To Baldwin’s credit, he is secure enough in his personhood, his masculinity, that he (by his own recognizance anyway) takes these incidents in stride (informing one man, an older mentor, however, that if he ever kisses him full on the mouth again, he will break every bone in his body—yet they do remain friends). He even goes as far as to say he “loves” a certain man he’s worked with and who knows? “he might be gay.” We know he isn’t, but it’s sweet of him to be so empathic that he might give it some consideration. That seems to be what his whole life is about: giving a role consideration before dispensing with it or forging ahead. We all should be so considerate in our own roles.
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