Thursday, March 24, 2022

Book Review: Hello Molly!

At age four, Molly Shannon’s world was shattered when she lost her mother, baby sister, and cousin in a car accident with her father at the wheel. Held together by her tender and complicated relationship with her grieving father, Molly was raised in a permissive household where her gift for improvising and role-playing blossomed alongside the fearlessness that would lead her to become a celebrated actress.

From there, Molly ventured into the wider world of New York and Los Angeles show business, where she created her own opportunities and developed her daring and empathetic comedy. Filled with behind-the-scenes stories involving everyone from Whitney Houston to Adam Sandler to Monica Lewinsky, many told for the first time here, Hello, Molly! spans Molly’s time on Saturday Night Live—where she starred alongside Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Cheri Oteri, Tracy Morgan, and Jimmy Fallon, among many others. At the same time, it explores with humor and candor her struggle to come to terms with the legacy of her father, a man who both fostered her gifts and drive and was left with the impossible task of raising his kids alone after the loss of her mother.

Witty, winning, and told with tremendous energy and heart, Hello, Molly!, written with Sean Wilsey, sheds new and revelatory light on the life and work of one of our most talented and free-spirited performers.

Hello Molly! will be available everywhere on April 12, 2022. I was given the opportunity to review an early galley by the publisher Ecco Books in exchange for an honest review.

This autobiography really defied my expectations. Knowing her from her comedy work, I expected it to by full of laughs and other witty moments. I expected some behind-the-scenes SNL stories, to have that curtain peeled back.

While there was all of that, there was also so much more. Right from the get-go, Molly lets the reader know this will be an open, honest, no-holds-barred story of her life. They often say comedy comes from tragedy, and her story certainly is an example of that.

More so, though, this book was a very easy, comfortable read. It was like getting together with an old friend who tells you stories from their life. "Remember when...?" or "have I ever told you about...?". From her entertainment work, you'd expect her to be a friendly, likeable person - and she certainly comes across that way as she unfolds her story. She tells it all like it is with no concern about hiding things (like her youthful indiscretions) or being concerned how something might come across. There is also some wisdom and life lessons in her tale. In a word, she is genuine - and so is her story.

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