But here is something I discovered quickly about ambition and achieving your dreams: Once you taste it, you want more.
Andrew Rannells – star of The Book of Morman and Girls – writes an atypical memoir about his life and struggles in his pre-famous years.
In his memoir, he wanted to emphasize this time in his life because:
These missing years were messy and confusing and filled with questionable choices, and for a long time I was happy to omit them. But I realize now just how much happened during that period of my life – a time when I was excited, and terrified, on a daily basis about what the future held for me
We start with Rannells’ childhood – a typical and idyllic time in Omaha, Nebraska.
He did try out and perform in just about every nearby theater – he always knew that he wanted to be a star. We hear about his successes and losses and how they all shaped his childhood.
He unapologetically covers every moment of his teenage years, from his coming out:
My family was mostly, what’s the best way to say this? Not shocked. I knew all the words to Grease 2 by the time I was six.
To his fist time:
So much pressure was put on this moment. I was supposed to love him, right? I was supposed to feel something, but I didn’t. I felt shame and relief…I felt in control and out of control…
To leaving Omaha for college in New York:
I shut the door and locked it behind me. And then I cried. I cried like I had never cried in my life. This was my dream, moving to New York and starting my life as an adult, and it was horrible.
Along the way, we hear about the auditions and the plays he manages to snag.
Never a big part, but always something to keep him going – from small-time gigs to summer theater to even touring as part of Pokemon Live!.
I’m not proud to say this, but I will admit it, Pokemon Live! was the first time I experienced a blackout from drinking.
And, throughout all of this, Rannells keeps close to his premise – always talking about his plans and his goals, even when he felt like he would never reach them.
This plan had to work. Why wouldn’t it? All my other plans had worked. Now I just had to wait.
Overall – I really enjoyed this one!
I loved the sheer enthusiasm and excitement intermingled with the realism of what it felt like to strike it out in his own.
He does go into quite a bit of detail regarding the plays (which I only knew about in passing) and I really appreciate that while he writes for the theater-audience, that he does not leave us non-theater-geeks on the wayside.
The author has a fabulous sense of humor and his tone was just right.
I loved all the tidbits of advice the author shared throughout the book – hilarious!!
If you walk into a theater and there is free wine, consider it a preemptive apology…
And, above all, I loved the author’s connection to family. I emphasized so much with the author’s experience – it felt so real and honest.
I had been so focused on creating my own life in New York that it hadn’t occurred to me that my family’s lives were all continuing without me.
I really think the author managed to capture a generation. This one was truly well-written and I’m so glad to have read it.
With thanks to the publisher and the author for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
All quotes are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.