It seems like, as people get older, they typically fit into two categories … the cranky and the reflective. Here, actor/author/singer/songwriter William Shatner gets reflective. Philosophically reflective. And why not? Shatner has had a good, long life to look back on.
There’s not much about William Shatner that we don’t already know. A star from the classic, much-loved 1960’s television show, Star Trek, trekkies and trekkers (fans of the show) often know more about the stars and their work and lives than the stars themselves (as Shatner mentions at one point in this book). But while there might be hundreds (or thousands?) of people following every moment of Shatner’s life, the one thing we can’t possibly know is: what is Shatner thinking?
Shatner, now in his 90’s with a 70 year career on stage and screen, can look back and reflect on what has been, but perhaps more interestingly, what is yet to come. He waxes philosophic on his early life as an actor, but combines it with thoughts and concerns for his children and grandchildren who may want to seek the life of a performer.
He gets just a little maudlin on his brief trip to space (one of the all-time great marketing gimmicks in my mind) but surprisingly doesn’t go where so many ‘astronauts’ have gone, talking about feeling so small and recognizing how fragile the earth is.
But for me, some of the most interesting parts of this brief, quick read, are his thoughts about music, singing, and songwriting.
As a fan of Star Trek myself, I am well aware of Shatner’s horrific blunder into singing and the release of his first album back in the late 60’s. Though I’ve never listened to the album, I’ve heard snippets, and I’ve rolled my eyes and laughed at the chutzpah of this man, to think he could sing.
But he explains it. He talks quite clearly about this, and his rather devastating appearance on a talk show that really doomed his early singing career (beyond his own voice, of course). And honestly, I now want to watch that clip and listen to the album. And possibly listen to one of his other EIGHT albums.
The narrative has a little bit of a random feel to it – more memoir than biography – but I appreciated that this wasn’t strictly a Star Trek-related biography. In fact there’s relatively little about Trek here, which is pretty appropriate because it was only three years of work for someone who’s now 91!
I read this more out of curiosity than because I’m a Star Trek fan, and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I might.
Looking for a good book? Boldly Go is a memoir/biography by William Shatner (with a little help), it’s a long life being reflected upon and it probably made me appreciate the actor/author a bit more.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through both Edelweiss and Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder
author: William Shatner with Joshua Brandon
publisher: Atria Books
hardcover, 256 pages