Grodin lives his life over in new book

"How I Got To Be Whoever It Is I Am" by Charles Grodin; 978-0-446-51940-3; Pages: 240; $24.99; Publication Date: April 2009; Hard Cover; Autobiographical, Biographical; Published by Springboard Press a division of Grand Central Publishing.

Two messages are delivered in this funny and sometimes serious autobiography by Charles Grodin called "How I got To Be Whoever It Is I Am."

Starting at his grassroots, he tells of his family's history and then launches into his first success as the fifth-grade president, who is promptly impeached because of his incessant penchant to talk in class.

No, he did not come from a wealthy background, but he was from humble beginnings, and made it in spite of his stumbling around in an attempt to find his place in the competitive world of acting in television, movies and on Broadway.

One of the messages he conveys is that he's really a nice guy under the façade of being an out-of-step individual who tries to alienate all those who are near and dear to him. He tells of the numerous times he had appeared with Johnny Carson and was always antagonistic, which often rubbed audiences the wrong way. Charles was well understood by the "master" of late night hosts for his delightful brand of comedy.

Many times in life we reminisce about the "do over." There are occurrences which would have been addressed differently if given more thought. These are the views of Grodin, but the reality is that in real life, he is not the abrasive and caustic-mouthed person he portrays. In this book, he makes up for his inadequacy by playing the Monday morning quarterback and describes how he would have proceeded in a different way in many situations.

It isn't very often we have an opportunity to look inside the life of an actor and his personal interactions with directors, actors and producers in such a "Candid Camera" close-up. Pleasing to the mind and spirit, Charles Grodin is a mensch (a nice person) in his efforts to support causes he truly believes in.

By helping those who have been convicted under the provisions of the felony murder laws, Grodin has put his money, time and honor to right egregious enforcement of these laws.

The proceeds from this book, which would normally go to him, are being donated to charity. This book is an excellent read.

Publisher's Weekly

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Week of April 13

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Doubleday; $27.95; 978-0-385-51783-6.

Non-Fiction

1. Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man; Steve Harvey; Amistad; $23.99; 978-0-06-172897-6.

2. Liberty and Tyranny; Mark Levin; Threshold Editions; $25; 9781416562856.

3. Always Looking Up; Michael Fox; Hyperion; $25.99; 9781401303389.

4. Outliers; Malcolm Gladwell;

Little, Brown; $27.99; 9780316017923.

5. The Yankee Years; Joe Torre;

Doubleday; $26.95; 978-0-385-52740-8.

Are there any books you would like reviewed? This column will find those which are of special interest for your reading pleasure. Visit Clark Isaacs at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com and tell him what you would like to have him write about.