Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Today's review is of Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy, written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Edel Rodriquez. Apart from Nimoy's autobiography, I Am Spock, this appears to be the only book biography of the acting legend, poet, photographer, and musician (so far). Richard Michelson, the author, is also a gallery owner in Massachusetts, who got to know Nimoy in real life when Nimoy displayed his work at the gallery.
The book explores Nimoy's childhood as the son of Russian immigrants living in Boston. Nimoy's first big break was singing "God Bless America" at a local playhouse, when the manager needed someone to do it and remembered a kid singing the Shema (a Jewish statement of faith) at their synagogue. Young Leonard Nimoy was bit by the stage bug at that moment, and never let it go, despite being urged by his family to find something that was guaranteed to pay him an income. Like playing the accordion.
Full of wit and wisdom - some from the author, some from characters in the book (including both Nimoy's grandfather and John F. Kennedy) - this book is about more than the life of Leonard Nimoy. It's about what it is to be part of an immigrant family in this country, a bit about what it is to be Jewish, a story about never giving up your dreams, about giving back, and - oh yeah - about the origin of Spock's hand gesture for "Live long and prosper".
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