Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Auntie's 2016 Bookworm Challenge 04

BookMy Daddy Was a Pistol and I'm a Son of A Gun.

Author: Lewis Grizzard

Info:  Copyright 1986: New York:  Villard Books

Where acquired: Library book sale.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # # #

What it's about:  Grizzard's Father, Lewis McDonald Grizzard Sr, was a war hero from both World War II and the Korean War.  He chronicles the days of his daddy's heroism and his slide into the deadly perils of alcoholism.  Included are many funny tales mixed with heart-wrenching seriousness as well.

Favorite Quotes

The tale of "Uden-Uden" - pp. 20-21

"Daddy had the power to swing my moods from high ecstasy to the darkest and most hopeless of abysses.  But I couldn't let go of him, no matter what he did to me.  I forgave everything.  I never could understand why everybody else wouldn't do the same." - p. 137

About a favorite teacher of his:  "He was talking to some of the boys one day and somebody said something unflattering about this particular girl and Mr. Norton said, 'Boys, you're going to be surprised because when she gets a little older, she's going to be a knockout and you'll all want her for a girlfriend.'  I didn't believe him at the time, but he was absolutely right.  I married her when she was nineteen." - p. 161

About a co-worker at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:  "Robinson had eight children and a wife....Farve [his boss] again tired of his lateness, so another story went, and said to Robinson, 'I don't care what your excuse is, Robinson.  The next time you're late, you're fired.  I promise you.' The next morning Robinson was late.  Farve called him over.

'You know what I said, Robinson," he began. 

'You're going to fire me, right?' Robinson asked.

'Yes, I'm going to fire you,' Farve went on, 'but just for the record, what is your excuse?'

'Greg,' Robinson began, ' you know I've been married nine years.' 

'What's that got to do with anything?' Farve shot back.
'Well, we've been married nine years, and we have eight children, and this is the first time since we've been married my wife's had her period, and she felt so bad, I had to cook breakfast for the kids and take them to school.' 

Farve, the story went on, buried his head in his hands on the desk. 

Robinson had saved himself again.'"  - pp. 197-198

"You don't know how he was when I was a little boy.  How I cried for him when we thought he was lost, how we cried for him when he came back to us.  You don't know what a terrible waste you are witnessing.  This was a special man, a gifted man, a man for whom there could have been no limit to his accomplishments.  But look at him.  Death should not be inglorious for such a man.  Better had he died heroically, felled in battle." - p. 227

What I Liked:
  • Though Lewis Grizzard is known primarily for his humor, this book contained a lot of serious material.  He tactfully and skillfully mixed the two without the humor being cheesy commentary on the serious bits, or the serious material being too much of a downer. 
What I didn’t like: 
  • Structurally, there wasn't much to dislike about this book.  Though not flawless, the material painted an accurate picture of the life of an alcoholic suffering the ravages of what looks like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The only thing I didn't like was that he could not get the help he needed but wouldn't make the best of the help he was offered.  At 56, he died way too soon.  Yes, I'm sappy sometimes; I don't like sad things.  I like happy endings.
To sum up:  For all it's sadness, My Daddy Was a Pistol... was a joy to read.  Though troubled, Lewis Grizzard Sr. was a true American hero.  Though Lewis Jr. never got to fight in a physical war because of a heart condition, he battled for his father all the way to the end.  He was his daddy's hero.

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