Summary and book reviews of Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

And Other Things I've Learned

by Alan Alda

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Alan Alda, one of America’s most recognizable and acclaimed actors, has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.

He’s one of America’s most recognizable and acclaimed actors–a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.

“My mother didn’t try to stab my father until I was six,” begins Alda’s irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.

Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow.

It is the story of turning points in Alda’s life, events that would make him what he is–if only he could survive them.

From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermist’s shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death can’t be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, filled with curiosity about nature, good humor, and honesty, is the crowning achievement of an actor, author, and director, but surprisingly, it is the story of a life more filled with turbulence and laughter than any Alda has ever played on the stage or screen.

Chapter 1
DON’T NOTICE ANYTHING

My mother didn’t try to stab my father until I was six, but she must have shown signs of oddness before that. Her detached gaze, the secret smile. Something.

We were living in a two-room apartment over the dance floor of a nightclub. My father was performing in the show that played below us every night. We could hear the musical numbers through the floorboards, and we had heard the closing number at midnight. My father should have come back from work hours ago.

My mother had asked me to stay up with her. She was lonely. We played gin rummy as the band below us played “Brazil” and couples danced through the haze of booze and cigarette smoke late into the night.

Finally, he came in. She jumped up, furious. “Where have you been?” she screamed. Even at the age of six, I could understand her anger. He worked with half-naked women and came home late. It wasn’t crazy to be suspicious.

She told...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Two themes run through his book - family and politics. As one reviewer puts it, "in a profession where marriages are acquired and discarded like consumer goods", his 50-year marriage to Arlene, and their three happy daughters "really is something to brag about". As for politics, Alda has been highly active on behalf of the feminist movement, and whether you agree or disagree with his views on the Equal Rights Amendment (see sidebar), it is not possible to doubt his sincerity and commitment.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (557 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Though the organization of these musings can feel disjointed, Alda's intimate, dynamic narration makes one feel as if you're sitting across from a wise and entertaining friend, the kind you could listen to for hours.

Booklist

Refreshingly, this collection of biographical sketches is written in a good-natured and compassionate way.

The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley

It all adds up to an amiable, occasionally amusing book. Alda tells [many stories] here, and he tells them well.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Alan Alda was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in 1936. His Italian-American father, Robert Alda (born Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo), was a successful actor who ran a burlesque theatre; his mother Joan Brown, a former "Miss New York" beauty queen, suffered from schizophrenia. His parents eventually divorced; Alan has a half-brother, Anthony, twenty years his junior. The D'Abruzzos adopted the name Alda by combining the first two letters of Alphonso and D'Abruzzo.

He contracted polio when he was seven years old, which left him bedridden for two years. He graduated from Fordham University in 1956, and joined the US Army Reserve, serving a six-month tour of duty in Korea (3-years after the ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.