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by Adrienne Petterson 2005   About Me

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Kiss Me Like a Stranger - My Search for Love and Art
by Gene Wilder
St. Martin's Press
ISBN 0-312-33706-X
Published March 2005 - Hardcover - 261 pages - $23.95

Gene Wilder has long been a favorite comedic film actor of mine and I think I've seen nearly everything he's been in.  Unfortunately I've not seen him as a guest on a chat show to get a feel for who he really is.  All I know is that I find him extremely funny with the best facial expressions and natural comedic abilities.  Also, not a lot is known about this man but to me, I always sensed a certain sadness to his being.  Don't ask me what, but I sensed something.  When I came across this memoir of his, things started to make some sense about Gene Wilder.  He tells us about the early times in his life (some funny, some sad, and some just plain awkward), that helped mold him into the comic giant he became.  It's a book about his young life, his discovery and forays with the opposite sex (many of his trials and tribulations), and how he got into acting.  He also tells us about his compulsion to pray.  Deep matter yet a blithe spirit.  Something noteworthy I discovered is that he was a pretty good fencer and taught fencing in New York and was also a chauffeur - while continuing to take acting lessons and later working on the stage in a variety of roles.  He fills us in about his therapy sessions, the movies he's made, the people he met, and his failures and successes at love.  He also relates the irony of his having to also undergo chemotherapy - his wife Gilda Radner died from ovarian cancer.  One of my all-time favorite movies just happens to be "Young Frankenstein" which Gene wrote.  Bravo!
Conclusion - A must-read for Wilder fans - lots of everything.

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.


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