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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watch Carefully, Pay Attention, Keep It Real, and Add Humor, 4 Feb. 2012
This review is from: The Garner Files: A Memoir (Hardcover)
"Listen now to my voice;" -- Exodus 18:19 (NKJV)

When I was in elementary school, a friend's mother asked me what my favorite television program was. I didn't blink an eye before announcing, "Maverick." She looked surprised, and I explained that I enjoyed watching a show about someone who first tried to think of a solution rather than just use violence. I also mentioned that I thought the show was very funny. From that show's appeal, I followed James Garner and enjoyed watching The Rockford Files and some of his better movies, such as The Americanization of Emily.

Knowing that actor memoirs are often vacuous, I decided to take a chance on finding out more about James Garner. I was glad that I did. There's interesting material here for James Garner fans.

I was fascinated to find out how little training (essentially none) he had before launching into being a successful actor. He credits much of his success to simply observing what outstanding actors did and to being fully present in a scene, no matter how many times the scene is reshot. Clearly, he must be very observant and able to adjust his mind and body to reflect what's going on around him. I was even more interested to learn that he had become a pretty decent golfer through employing a similar method.

The book also succeeds in portraying him as a person who cares about others and does so in respectful ways.

Since the story is leavened with humor, the bromides and insider stories go down a little more smoothly than usual.

I knew that he had struggled with chronic pain for decades (try being humorous through that!), but I didn't know that he also has quite a temper and suffered from greater than usual amounts of stage fright.

While you probably won't come away from this book with much of personal value, I believe you will probably feel a little more encouraged to persevere at whatever you do, to take life with humor, to look out for others, and to pay attention when you have a chance to improve.

Live a positive life, as best you can.
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