Favorite genres are traditional mystery, police procedurals, espionage, Eurocrime, literary fiction and nonfiction history, especially WW2 and Cold War. I write about crime fiction at Read Me Deadly (www.readmedeadly.com)
Kind of like a wine-fueled chat with your goofiest friend
I've always had a thing for co-stars and character actors, from screwball comedy greats like Edward Everett Horton, Eugene Pallette, Eric Blore and Thelma Ritter, to voices and faces you see everywhere in today's movies and TV, like Christopher Waltz, Brian Goodman (who seems to specialize in cops) and Jayne Brook (look her up on imdb.com; she's great!).
So what's it like to have a listing on imdb.com that includes (limited) roles on a dozen or more TV shows everybody's familiar with; to be a recognizable face, but few people outside Los Angeles know your name? Judy Greer knows and she wants to tell you about it.
I've liked Judy Greer for years, since Arrested Development and 13 Going on 30, and today I love her scene-stealing voice work as the crazed sado-masochistic heiress/secretary/country singer Cheryl/Cherlene in the FX network's animated espionage comedy, Archer. So I figured: Why not read her book and find out more about her? Sure, the book is no cure for cancer and you might wonder why anybody would care to read the "confessions of a co-star," as she subtitles the book, but I was curious.
It turns out, Judy knows how to write a breezily entertaining memoir. Well, memoir in the sense that Tina Fey's Bossypants is a memoir. It's really a collection of entertaining stories about her childhood, breaking into show business and current life and career. She's from suburban Detroit and has that low-key, self-deprecating humor you often see in midwesterners––only a little edgier, a little goofier.
She writes as if she's talking to you on the phone. She rambles a little, she jumps from one topic to another; it's not very polished feeling, and there isn't anything deep or particularly meaningful here. And yet, it's an enjoyable way to pass some time. Her reminiscences about her childhood and her stories about her rescued, flatulent bulldog, Buckley (whom she describes as constantly judging her), are often laugh-out-loud funny.
When Judy talks about her career and her husband and stepchildren, she pulls back, though. Those stories are only slight-smile amusing, and I have a theory about that. She writes a couple of times about good advice she's received over the years, and one is her (former nun!) mother's sage advice (just like Cher's mom's in Moonstruck): "Don't shit where you eat." I suspect Judy didn't want to be too real about show business or her marriage and stepchildren, since she has to live and work in those worlds every day. Smart move, but it makes those portions of the book just a little deflated when compared to the inspired loopiness of the chapters about Buckley and her life before Los Angeles.
All in all, though, it's an entertaining read and makes me think that next time Judy Greer is between jobs she should start writing a comic novel.
Note: Thanks to the publisher, Doubleday, and Amazon's Vine Program for providing an advance reviewing copy. The book is scheduled for publication on April 8, 2014.