Monday, October 08, 2007

Hawkeye as Alan Alda

Alan Alda (2007), Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, New York: Random House

Personally I am not a big fan of celebrity autobiography. However I am a big fan of Dr. Hawkeye Pierce a very human surgeon in a M*A*S*H unit in Korea during the Korean War. This was a popular television series that ran for eleven years. It is a comedy, like ER in a War Zone, and House, MD with his attitudes all rolled up in one.

I have not read his previous autobiography Never Have Your Dog Stuffed to which this book is a sequel. Alda ended his last book by relating his experience of almost dying on a mountaintop in Chile. He was saved by emergency surgery.

In this book, Alda records that he had been changed by his near death experience. He begins to ask himself, two questions:
(1) What do I value?
(2) What exactly is the good life? (And what does that even mean?)

Alan wrote about the various experiences he had, especially on occasions when he that to give a speech, and there were many, in which he tried to explain about his values and what he regarded as a good life. On a few occasions, he also shared about what he had shared with his children.

Basically the values he espoused are very humanistic values of doing good whenever possible. In this book, he did not touch on his religious beliefs. And the good life is living life to the fullest. In between stories of his acting experiences, his friends, and his questioning, we can catch a little glimmer of Alan Alda, the man behind the actor.


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