Saturday, September 23, 2023

Book Review: Being Henry

Henry Winkler, launched into prominence as “The Fonz” in the beloved Happy Days, has transcended the role that made him who he is. Brilliant, funny, and widely-regarded as the nicest man in Hollywood (though he would be the first to tell you that it’s simply not the case, he’s really just grateful to be here), Henry shares in this achingly vulnerable memoir the disheartening truth of his childhood, the difficulties of a life with severe dyslexia, the pressures of a role that takes on a life of its own, and the path forward once your wildest dream seems behind you.

Since the glorious era of Happy Days fame, Henry has endeared himself to a new generation with roles in such adored shows as Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, and Barry, where he’s been revealed as an actor with immense depth and pathos, a departure from the period of his life when he was so distinctly typecast as The Fonz, he could hardly find work.

Filled with profound heart, charm, and self-deprecating humor, Being Henry is a memoir about so much more than a life in Hollywood and the curse of stardom. It is a meaningful testament to the power of sharing truth and kindness and of finding fulfillment within yourself.

This autobiography will be published October 31, 2023. Celadon Book provided an early galley for review.

I have been a fan of this actor since the 70's. I was a devoted watcher of Happy Days each week. I remember seeing the movie Heroes, a 1977 drama with co-stars Sally Field and Harrison Ford where he played a troubled Vietnam vet, in the theater at age 12 with my cousin. Something about his ability to do both comedy and drama made me appreciate his talents. When I saw this book was coming, it was a must-read for me.

And right from the start, I had a warm smile on my face. The cover is welcoming - with his smiling face as a greeting from an old friend. It reads exactly the way I would expect it to. I can "hear" his distinctive voice as I go. I do not need the audiobook experience (though for this one I might listen to it any way). It is honest, it is funny, and it is entertaining. Everything I was expecting and then some.

I learned a lot about his career, especially more recent things. I was not aware, for example, that he co-authored a successful series of children's books.

I am very pleased that he was able to put his story down in his own words.

1 comment:

ApacheDug said...

Thank you for sharing Martin, I really want to read this! Reading your review made me realize I've seen him in everything you listed here including his one time part on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I dearly love this guy.