Monday, August 14, 2006

How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years by Tom Arnold

I like Tom Arnold as an actor and was in the mood for something light when I picked this book up. Normally, I avoid memoirs by famous people because I've found they tend to be either unbearably vain or just flat horrifying. Actors are, with few exceptions, people who crave attention; and, the same issues that lead them to desperately seek out an audience often also cause addictive behavior. You have to expect such things.

Apologies to my former-actor friend: I know you're one of the exceptions.

Tom Arnold is not an exception to the general rules (although I'd say he's less vain than most). He has a pretty horrifying childhood story to tell, involving poverty, abuse, neglect, abandonment and early addiction. The main difference is that he has a huge heart, desires little more than steady work and a solid family life, and his story is told with humor. He's a decent actor and a genuinely funny guy; and, I felt that he was pretty down-to-earth, as far as this type of memoir goes. We even decided to have a Tom Arnold weekend after I closed the book (although we only got as far as True Lies because it was just one of those weeks that required a good deal of weekend catch-up napping).

Admittedly, there was one point at which I came to understand one of the cover quotes:

"After reading Tom Arnold's most candid thoughts and feelings, I wanted to divorce him."
--Bill Maher

However, that point was a serious low point and Arnold pulled himself out of his rut, checked into rehab, tried diligently to work out his marital differences and eventually found a great wife (on the third try). His greatest desire is to have children and the book is written as if he were telling his life story to his own child. Last I heard, he and his wife were taking a break from trying to conceive after 5 in-vitro failures (as of late 2005, I believe); this book was copyrighted in 2002. I wish them the best of luck. He sounds like an okay guy. Just try to skim over the bit about that threesome and quietly dumping his then-wife from the trio to continue with the other female and you'll be fine, if star bios are your thing.



  1. I'm not a huge Tom fan, but when you mentioned True Lies I lit up like a firecrack. LOVE that movie.

  2. Hey Andi,

    Good to see you. :)

    True Lies is apparently Tom Arnold's only real hit - I didn't know that. He says he took any offer, for a while, to try to capitalize on his fame and . . . well, not a good idea. If you've seen McHale's Navy, you know he should have been a bit more discerning. But, I probably would have done the same if people were offering me $4-5 million per movie.

    Yep, True Lies is a fave of mine, too. Loads of fun, good acting, great lines. Can we say violence with humor?

  3. I've been trying to think of celebrity memoirs or bios that I've read and only came up with a couple. Can't remember the title, but I enjoyed Michael J. Fox's memoir from a few years ago. I've always like him as an actor and sympathize with his struggle with Parkinson's.

    I don't think the other is truly a memoir (altho, I'm not sure what defines "memoir"), but I sure got a kick out of Paul Rieser's (? from Mad About You) Couplehood. Babyhood was cute, but not as funny as the other. I read Couplehood in-flight several years ago and couldn't stop from laughing outloud. My seatmates must've thought I was bonkers!

  4. Nancy,

    I was over at Andi's blog and read your recent comment. I, too, got married at 19 and had my daughter when I was 22! Probably not all that uncommon, but your comment made me sit up straight in my chair and say, "Hey, me too!"

  5. Les,

    Ha! I told you we had a lot in common!!! Do you have days that you wish you'd actually bothered to have a life before marriage and kids? I do. About 360 per year. I do have a few good days. :)

    Really, I'm just a waffler when it comes to memoirs. If something appeals to me, I'll read it even if I've been known to say I don't read "that genre". I like Paul Reiser - I'll have to look for Couplehood. I really adore older memoirs for the historical perspective - like "Autobiography" by Benvenuto Cellini. And, one of my favorite memoirs is a modern one: "Stand Before Your God" by Paul Watkins. So, now that I think of it, I read more of them than I thought.

    I should probably go stand in the corner, now, or tape my fingers and avoid the keyboard till my youngest is out of high school (that would be 4 years). :)

  6. hmmmm, i don't think i have ever read a celebrity memoir or bio...i don't know if it sounds very interesting to me...they usually all seem to have depressing lives

  7. Jessica,

    Personal opinion: most celebrity bios are worth skipping. Good decision. :)

  8. thanks for the advice! i am enjoying all the book reviews on your blog!


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