Sunday, April 15, 2012
Book Report: Moon River and Me by Andy Williams
As is the case with almost any celebrity autobiography, Moon River and Me has its fair share of scandal. Williams's first wife was a nineteen-year-old French cancan dancer who, after their divorce, shot and killed her Olympic skier boyfriend. Williams himself (and it pains me to say this) sometimes comes off as chauvinistic and lecherous, especially upon shacking up with a baton-twirling coed at the age of 50. A times the writing seems stilted, not so much in narrative style, but in what Williams is willing to reveal. Yet at others it's surprisingly candid, baudy even, coming from a personality marketed as wholesome.
After a Google search I learned that Williams is now 84 and battling bladder cancer. That made me sad. Not to mention a little sheepish for some of my less complimentary thoughts.
Overall, I can't deny that Moon River and Me is an illuminating and entertaining read. There were times when I was laughing out loud (if not always for the right reasons), and I remain bowled over by Williams's perfectionism and unflinching work ethic. There's no doubt that the classic crooner has led a fascinating life and is deserving of every ounce of his success. But for me, and perhaps for others, the heart of his legacy remains his timeless holiday hits. As Williams writes, "To this day people stop me on the street and tell me how much they cherished the Christmas shows and how much it meant to their whole family. I've always loved Christmas, and for me it really is "the most wonderful time of the year." (155)
An apt note to end on if ever there was one.