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Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:43 PM

Growing Up Laughing: My Story by Marlo Thomas is a fun, easy read. Thomas is the daughter of the famous comedian Danny Thomas and she grew up with an array of comedians surrounding her.

Before I started this book, I thought the whole thing would be a summary of the author’s life and I was a little skeptical. I was delighted to discover that it’s not only a chronicle of Thomas’ life but the story of so many comedians — past and present.

The book is nicely broken up into anecdotal stories about Thomas’ childhood and adult career as an actress interwoven with interviews she conducted with various comedians from Jerry Seinfeld to George Carlin. I found these interviews very insightful and entertaining and they provided a nice interlude from the sometimes repetitive details of the author’s life.

I’m a big fan of comedy, so it was interesting to read about what makes so many comedians tick, how they work on their craft and how they see themselves.

There were also several other tidbits of information I found intriguing, such as the description of the life of a comedian on the road. It wasn’t always easy for Danny Thomas and his wife to maintain a relationship with his traveling. Another fun fact in the book was revealed when Thomas explained how her father got the name for his TV show, Make Room for Daddy.

I have never seen That Girl, and frankly, didn’t know a thing about Marlo Thomas except that she was Rachel Green’s mom on Friends. So it was eye-opening to me to learn so much about her and the era in which she grew up. She was really quite the feminist, collaborating with Gloria Steinem and starring in a TV show that, at the time, broke a lot of ground for women. She worked on all kinds of projects that pushed the women’s movement forward.

I was also unaware that Thomas was married to Phil Donahue. In her book, she tells the sweet story of their initial meeting, when she was on his talk show, to their eventual marriage. I liked that part.

This book contains many pieces of information of which I was unaware, and being a big fan of comedy and pop culture, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I definitely recommend it for a light beach read this summer.

Last Updated on Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:13 AM

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