Friday, January 3, 2014

This Is Your Captain Speaking - book review

I've just finished my first book of the new year - Gavin MacLeod's This Is Your Captain Speaking is the story of the life of Gavin MacLeod, better know as the Captain of The Love Boat.

This book chronicles Gavin MacLeod's life beginning in a poor family in upstate New York, losing his alcoholic father at the age of thirteen, attending Ithaca College, moving to New York to pursue a career in acting, then on to Hollywood and ending with life now that he's in his 80s. He has performed in a huge array of theatre productions, television shows, and movies, but is most known for two roles: Murray on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Captain on The Love Boat. Along the way, he married his first wife and they had four children. He left her for his second wife, Patti, whom he divorced several years later . . . then remarried after becoming a Christian during the time his mother was going through a life threatening surgery. In fact, he and Patti hosted a Christian talk show on TBN for 17 years and he now considers himself to be an ambassador for Christ.

He has also been the ambassador for Princess Cruise Lines for the past 27 years. The chapters where he talks about this position read like a commercial - how wonderful cruising is, how many celebrities he's met when boats were christened and launched, how well Princess Cruise Lines has treated him and all the travels he's done. [I found this a little humorous considering that Princess Cruise Lines is owned by Carnival Corporation, which owned the cruise ships that were in the news the last few years - the one where an engine fire left passengers without power and working sewage lines for days as they were towed to port (actually there were two of these incidents!) and the Italian cruise ship that ran aground and partially sank.]

I think this is only the third actor/celebrity life story I've read, and I have to admit that I've come away somewhat disappointed after each one. (Some of you may remember my review of Melissa Gilbert's book a few years ago.) I knew Mr. MacLeod had become a Christian later in life, so I was surprised to find myself really not liking him as a person as I read through the first three-fourths of the book. I grew tired of how impressed and awed he was every time he met yet another well-known celebrity and how he likes everyone (I guess name dropping is unavoidable when you've been in the entertainment business as long as he has) except Bette Davis who he tells about in a very unflattering story. It's hard to put into words why I didn't like the book, except that maybe I expected it to be written more from the perspective of him looking back on his life from a Christian perspective, without glamorizing the life he had and the mistakes he made before he met the Lord.

[I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.]

1 comment:

Maria Ontiveros said...

I love honest reviews! I'm cranking through my first book this weekend because my book group meets on Monday. Luckily, it's a good one (The Round House by Louise Erdrich).
Rinda