Sam Harris, I remember the dynamic , young singer with the glorious voice, the old style tux and sneakers, and thinking 'this young man is a phenomenon'. I was correct is many ways. Sam appeared on the television program 'Star Search', won all of money and took the top prize in 1983. A young man of 22 was finally on his way.
Born in Oklahoma, Sam had difficulty fitting into the role of his father's son who loved everything sports. Sam loved singing and acting, and he would rather sing, dance and act in a local play, than go on vacation with his family. His parents did love him, but it took his dad some time to accept him. 'Star Search' sent him on his way.
In this marvelously written book, each chapter is a part and parcel of his life, not always told in sequence. He writes about his life in Oklahoma, his experiences with famous people and his new life with his partner and their son. One of his first concerts was opening for Aretha Franklin in Cleveland. Promise ofa car at the airport, a paid hotel room never materialized. Sam had to pay for his own music, never got to practice. Aretha swept in, did her practice time and it was show time. Sam went on stage with no music, and he sang. In the process he brought the house down. Aretha, not so much. She never spoke to him, nor did he ever get paid, lesson learned. He became friends with Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson, and the famous people of the day. His career flourished, he acted on Broadway, toured the country singing, appeared in films, and all the while kept his own style, the old tux and the sneakers. What Sam had that many others dud not was real talent, such a beautiful voice. Listen to his rendition of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' on YouTube and judge for yourself.
Sam tells us of his addiction, his loves, finally, his partner and his family life with their son. This is a man who has had it all, and realized what he really wanted was to walk with his partner, pushing a baby carriage to the local Farmer's Market. His trip along the way, is fascinating, and told in such a style that we want more. Sam Harris the phenomenon has become the man he always wanted to be. The writing is bold and telling, a little hint of wry and a little bit of ham. He never places blame, always tries to find the positive, and leaves us wanting more.
I don't know how anyone could give this less than five stars. I literally started laughing on the first page and couldn't stop throughout the entire book. I enjoyed this book so much that at some point, when I lost my glasses, I found an old pair of readers with the nose pads missing. I decided that the sharp pain of the metal digging into my face was worth it. It was worth it for several hours. I may now be permanently scarred. Still, it was worth it.
This book reminded me of David Sedaris, the older stuff by Sedaris when I found him funnier and less dark. The tone was set from the minute Harris describes dancing harder after seeing his father's disappointment. I don't want to ruin the laughs for you, so suffice it to say, if you like David Sedaris' humor, you will LOVE this book. I did.
Singer, writer, performer, director, father...Sam Harris is one of those people who consistently reinvents himself. I've been a fan of his for many years, since I took a chance on his first album when a sales rep was trying to sell it into a classical music shop in Birmingham. From then on I've collected all his albums and followed his career with interest. Although never having been a household name in the UK, his work has spread by word of mouth, as his searing interpretations of classics ranging from Over the Rainbow right through to the Star Spangled Banner have stunned many who have heard them for the first time. Ham reflects this diverse career. Essays range from his earliest experiences of fame, the gruelling paying of dues around the clubs of his youth, his growth to celebrity BFF with Liza (and the account of the infamous wedding with stay with you for many days after first reading!) and of his course, his later incarnation as an out and proud gay man, husband and father to Danny and Cooper. Although the book jumps timelines, locations and genres, it seems to work, almost as if Sam were being interviewed on a range of topics spanning his life, because there's never any need to flip back to find out what he was referring to earlier, or who the person was he mentioned - it appears to flow seamlessly from one chat-show story to the next. An in-depth piece of literature it ain't, but an interesting addition to the Harris canon which adds some light and shade to the Hollywood glitz? Definitely.