Kiss me like a stranger. My Search for Love and Art is an autobiography of Gene Wilder.
This book captures the spirit of the human search for love and art because it is what everybody around the world is looking for, including me. Gene charts his life from teenager, up to 2005, describing the key events that influenced his life.
For those who are familiar with his work, they will instantly recognise his excellent style of humour in the writing. He has written this book very clearly, and I was able to read it in a day without any difficulties. The structure of this book thoughtfully focuses on the key events of his life. This book is captivating and one of those rare books that once you start, you will keep reading until you reach the very last page.
Gene Wilder is one of the nicest people to emerge from Hollywood, and therefore it is always a pleasure to read and write about such exceptional people of our time. He is one of those actor entertainers, who is not just multi-talented, but a great all round human being as well.
I like the fact that he always looks for the humour in everything that happens to him, and maybe this is the secret to living a happier life, as life can be very cruel most times. Certainly, there has been plenty of sadness in my own life.
With this book, the readers will find themselves smiling; right from the first page of the prologue, where he explains how simply choosing different paths around the fountain on the Fifth Avenue can change your life. This book is very much about the choices he took in his life and how they led him to the life and career he has today.
This book also documents many events that occurred in his life, which the reader will find very moving to read. For example, the awful experiences he endured as a child at the Black / Fox Military Institute where he was beaten for being Jewish. The moment when his mother saw his body covered in black and blue bruises was moving to say the least. Although he uses humour to mask painful moments in his life, I could relate with much of it in many ways.
Reading about these events made me realise that I stand in good company because growing up in UK in the late 70s, was a difficult time for non-white people. I remembered spending time in hospital with broken ribs and fractures because a group of racist thugs thought that it would be fun to use me as a football.
Racism and discrimination were prevalent in all parts of the world including UK. In Sir Alan Sugar's autobiography What You See Is What You Get he too mentions experiencing prejudice due to his Jewish heritage.
I loved Chapter 2 Can a few words change your life? When you are young, just a few words can change your life, and it very much depends on who speaks them as well. People in positions of authority and power can have a huge influence in one's decision-making and the direction one takes.
In this chapter Gene describes the moment where 'the fat heart specialist', recommended him to make his mother laugh if he wanted her to live. This was the first time he tried to make others laugh, and the beginning of a new direction, that led to comedy and acting.
I loved Chapter 22, which covers his experiences with Richard Pryor during the filming of Silver Streak. In my opinion, this was one of the best pairings of two comedy legends. The film was a huge success and this was very much because they were both improvising which made the scenes far more realistic then they otherwise would have been. I also loved reading the conversation he had with Cary Grant (p. 169) regarding the film based on North by Northwest.
Chapter 24 is devoted to another amazing film of his Stir Crazy, which is also one of my favourites. I found it very interesting to read about his experiences with Sidney Poitier, who is another great legend that I admire. I thought this book was worth buying just for this chapter alone.
I could write another book about this book because Gene Wilder is just such an amazing and interesting person. There is a lot to learn from this book. I managed to learn some of his tricks on picking up women, which I shall be employing, and perhaps ending my search for love. :-)
This book is about an amazing human being, and I am very happy to promote it. It is therefore rightfully in the prestigious Peter Vis Collection.
Gene Wilder, original name Gerome Silberman, was born on 11th June 1933.
[Braille Monitors] The back cover reads Pure Gene Wilder! Uproariously funny, and at times very moving. It made me want to go out and see every Gene Wilder movie again. - Mel Brooks.
Gene Wilder is one of the great comic actors who defined film comedy in the 1970s and 1980s, starring in movies ranging from The Producers to Blazing Saddles to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However, this is no traditional autobiography. Rather, it is an intelligent, quirky, humorous account of key events that have affected him, his acting, and most importantly - his love life. As the subtitle so aptly puts it, this is his search for love and art.
|Title||Kiss me like a stranger|
|Publisher||Harper Collins Publishers|
|ISBN Number||0 00 720804 9|
|Copyright Holder||Gene Wilder 2005|
|Printing and Binding||Clays Limited|
|Front Cover||Steve Schapiro|
|Back Cover||Photofest / Retna Pictures Ltd|
|Last Page Number||261|
|Availability||Amazon and all good online bookstores|