Let me get it out of the way right away: I am a long time trekkie and I have loved Captain James T. Kirk from the first minute I saw him on STAR TREK, in 1969 when I was 6 years old.
That was a formative year for me. It was also the year I read my first "big book" and knew I wanted to write novels.
So I couldn't resist buying Shatner's autobiography when I saw it at Barnes & Noble, though I will, alas, resist his websites, which he plugs on every other page of this book.
Other than the used-car-salesman-like pressure to visit his websites and purchase assorted Shatnerbilia, UP TILL NOW is warm and charming. It's the all-too-human story of a life intensely and purposefully lived. The voice is well done, careening between blustery self-congratulation, wry self-awareness, and honest revelation. William Shatner is a man who has loved and lost and suffered, and he talks about it with perspicacity and sadness. He's also a man who has succeeded, and he recounts his achievements--and his near misses--with equal measures of braggadocio and irony. Well, maybe the braggadocio comes out ahead. He is an actor, after all; that species is not known for lacking narcissism. But this book has more substance than the usual vanity fare. The unifying theme is the intelligence with which he revisits his life Up Till Now.
I don't hold the "Buy My Stuff" schtick against him because I am an artist married to an artist, and I never miss an opportunity to 1, tell someone how wonderful my novel is so they can run out and buy it, and 2, tell someone how wonderful my husband's sculptures are, so they can run out and buy them, too. After all, I'm not just in the business of writing novels, I am in the business of selling them. My oldest daughter nearly dies of mortification every time, but here is one of my typical forays:
Video Store Guy: Here's your movies, enjoy them.
Me: Thanks. Hey, do you read?
Video Store Guy: Read? Uh...
Me: I mean, do you enjoy novels. I'm an author whose first novel came out a few months ago. Here's a card for it: IMMORTAL. It's a historical novel set in Renaissance Florence. The film rights just sold a few weeks ago.
Video Store Guy: Film rights? Really?
Me: Yes! It's going to be a great movie. Check out the novel!
Outside the store.
My daughter: MOM! Could you BE any more embarassing??? Argh!!!!!
So I don't judge Shatner for his candor about wanting to make money.
And he namedrops in satisfying enough ways, and he has been a working actor for a very long time, so he includes a little bit of the social history of acting and the evolution of the medium of television and some perspective on the phenomenon of STAR TREK. I would have liked to see even more of that; whatever the largeness of his ego and the smallness of his hairline, William Shatner is a smart man, with shrewd observations.
I enjoyed his autobiography. It was entertaining and I would recommend it to anyone with interest.
And, FYI, Dear Reader: My husband Sabin Howard's small sculptures, like the exquisite MAN or EROS, can be purchased for $5000 plus shipping. His heroic scale HERMES (a testament to Man's power and intelligence) and APHRODITE (a paean to beauty, harmony and balance, the single best female figure in several hundred years) each cost $165,000. For those of you who might want to own a limited edition, museum quality bronze sculpture by an artist that the NY Times has compared to Rodin and Donatello. His works are grace beyond compare: check out www.sabinhoward.com and see for yourself.