A warm and remarkably candid memoir shared by the man who became a TV sensation as Arthur Fonzarelli aka “The Fonz”, a role so iconic many of us have come to equate the actor with the TV persona himself. Henry Winkler however, as we see clearly here, is quite simply someone else. As the author lays out his experiences, the chatty, anxious, humorous and kind outpouring of thoughts comprising these pages, along with the vulnerabilities, insecurities and issues shared, (each of which continue to plague him for much of his life, including his time at the celebrity summit), reveal the somewhat surprising truth about the oftentimes harshness of life that awaits a California-based actor.
Beginning with his bleak upbringing at the hand of punitive and disparaging parents (themselves German Jews, displaced victims of the horrors of the Nazi regime) , and burdened with undiagnosed dyslexia that made school learning torturous, the author describes having to work hard to earn himself a place at college and the freedom offered by the acting school he desperately wanted to attend. And so will begin his lifelong search for, as laid out here and generously shared by the author, a path to allow him to establish a safe and welcoming presence in his own skin.
This is a book that is hard to put down, and one that will work its way into your heart as the author, through a combination of luck, charm, grit, and perseverance, weaves a circuitous path to celebrity, experiences relative midlife obscurity, and finds a satisfying successful arc later in life that sees him win his first daytime Emmy. As he describes facing his demons, focusing on his love for the family that supported him throughout, gaining several devoted doggy menageries over the years, and finding joy in giving back to his community, it’s clear that for the author, as is the case for many of us, no matter the size of the audience or the critics, finding and learning to accept himself is deeply personal and soul-searching work.
A great big thank you to the publisher, and the author for an arc of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
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