Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review: Talking as Fast as I Can

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Melissa Amster:

You're about to hear perspectives on Lauren Graham's new tell-all from an avid Gilmore Girls watcher and a late-to-the-game binge-watcher who has only just finished season one. I happen to be the latter. The issue with that is most of this book is about Gilmore Girls and there are a lot of spoilers. I listened to the parts about the original series and will probably forget most of the spoilers by the time I get around to them anyway. Even hearing the spoilers for the season one finale did not ruin the fun of watching them come to life. However, I opted to skip out on the last chunk of chapters (or last 40 minutes on audio) as I have not seen the new episodes from Netflix. Perhaps I'll revisit this book when I finish.

I enjoyed listening to Lauren read her book aloud. She is really funny and has a certain nuance to the way she speaks. I'd hear her voice in my head at random times while I wasn't listening to the book. I enjoyed learning about her life and especially liked hearing about her camaraderie with the cast of Parenthood, which is a series I loved (and also happened to binge on). There are some funny moments that work better on audio than in a book, such as when she's singing a song the wrong way. However, she should not refer to photos in an audio book. If you get the book from Audible or Overdrive, you don't get the pleasure of seeing the pictures. You need to have the print version nearby as an accompaniment.

Overall, this was an easy listen during my rides to and from work or while doing mindless busywork at the office (which sometimes needs to be done).

As Lauren says..."But wait...there's more!"

Tracey Meyers:

As I attempt to write a review of the audio book version of Lauren Graham's memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything in Between),  my TV is on and Facebook is up and running on both my computer AND my phone. At one point I got up to make a cup of tea and had a cookie while I was for the water to boil. At this point you may be asking yourself why am I sharing this information with you. The Answer: I am sharing this information with you because as soon I sat down at my computer again I thought of something Lauren Graham said about the challenges she faced during the writing process. This advice caused me to turn my TV off and turn-off Facebook - on both my computer AND my phone so I could concentrate on my writing process.

The advice she gave about the writing process wasn't the only piece of wisdom I got from this "read," which is a bit surprising. I have to confess my desire to read and review this memoir was solely based on the the fact that I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls (GG) fan. Like many, my first introduction to Lauren Graham's acting was through this show. Admittedly I didn't follow the show from the very beginning, but once I started I was hooked. My association with Lauren as Lorelai Gilmore was so strong that it took some getting use to when I watched her in the 2007 movie Because I Said So and later in the TV series, Parenthood. As much as I enjoyed her as other characters, she was first and foremost Lorelai Gilmore. So as you might imagine seeing Lauren as an author is a bit hard for me. Thankfully, it didn't take me long to get past that challenge.

Now that I've gone on and on about how much LOVE Lauren Graham's acting, I will actually address what I thought of the audio book version her memoir. I had only one problem with this memoir and it's a problem that is easy to solve. Though I loved to hear Lauren narrate her book, it did bother me that I couldn't see the pictures she referred to throughout the book. Yes, it's my fault for not getting a physical or electronic copy so I'm not going to a huge deal of it. So consider this more a warning about purchasing the audio version of this book than a fault of the book itself. Aside from that one small issue, I flew through this recording. Listening to this book was like listening to an old friend tell you about their life. As I mentioned, Lauren is a great narrator which helps a lot as not all audio book narrators are created equal. However, the content of the book as good as well. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about her background and her life prior to GG. How Lauren got into acting, paid her dues and landed the role of a lifetime. If you haven't watched GG and/or the GG reboot, and plan to watch you may want to hold off on reading this book until after you've watched the show. Lauren talks a lot about the original show and the reboot so there is a lot of potential for spoilers. (Melissa, it was wrong of me to question you on how much of the book contained potential spoilers. I am sorry for doing so.)

Though my inner GG groupie loved all the talk about the show, I also enjoyed learning about Lauren's insecurities and life lessons she's acquired throughout her years. The one life lesson that stuck out and really struck a cord with me had to do with having patience for things we want - like an amazing job, love, etc. - to arrive in our life. I know this frustration all too well and when Lauren mentioned that the "train" will arrive when it's meant to arrive isn't a new lesson; however, it's a lesson I forget - periodically - and hearing a warm, sincere voice utter the reminder made my heart feel a little warmer on what was a cold January day.

I guess what I'm trying to say in all my rambling is that I thoroughly enjoyed Lauren Graham's memoir not only because it was written by Lauren Graham, which is a big plus in its favor, but due to the fact that it is a fun read that helped me escape my world for a few hours. It also gave me better insight into the humbleness of this star and how in many ways she is just like you and me.


Janine said...

I loved The Gilmore Girls when it was originally on. I haven't been able to see the new shows.

susieqlaw said...

I am a huge Gilmore Girls fan and look forward to reading this book.