Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art

Gene Wilder
  • Review
By – August 20, 2012

Gene Wilder’s mem­oir recounts his jour­ney to self-enlight­en­ment and peace of mind with wit and hon­esty. Gene’s for­ma­tive years in a Mid­west­ern fam­i­ly are dom­i­nat­ed by his mother’s ill­ness, typ­i­cal ado­les­cent yearn­ings and inse­cu­ri­ties, emerg­ing comedic tal­ents, and a desire to study and cre­ate. The intru­sion of a per­son­al demon” demand­ing per­fec­tion and obe­di­ence becomes an enor­mous emo­tion­al bur­den and casts a shad­ow that fol­lows him for years. The road to suc­cess in the­atre, film and rela­tion­ships with women is rocky and often painful. It is achieved with hard work, sharp cre­ative intu­ition, help­ful psy­cho­analy­sis and final­ly, real, last­ing love. Most inter­est­ing are his rela­tion­ships with notable peo­ple like Mel Brooks and Gil­da Radner. 

While cer­tain mem­o­ries are not par­tic­u­lar­ly unique or dra­mat­ic, oth­ers fill the read­er with com­pas­sion. We do get to know Gene Wilder, respect his efforts and reflec­tions, and find com­fort in the uni­ver­sal­i­ty of human expe­ri­ence. Index.

Pen­ny Metsch, MLS, for­mer­ly a school librar­i­an on Long Island and in New York City, now focus­es on ear­ly lit­er­a­cy pro­grams in Hobo­ken, NJ.

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