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Mainstream - George Carlin Last Words - a memoir

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Last Words, a Memoir
George Carlin with Tony Hendra
Free Press 2010
296 pages

No doubt it is unfair to expect a semi-biographical book by George Carlin to show the same kind of verbal skills and keen observations ability Carlin had but there you go. Last Words a memoir is a blend of the as told to biography and autobiography. Last Words has no kiss and tell so if you are looking for the inside scoop on the stand-up comedy world, Carlin is not your man. If you are interested in the most important comic of the last fifty years, Last Words makes for a good read. The book is very thin when it comes to photographs.

Last Words is very linear. It is also quite thorough when it comes to George Carlin's childhood, teenage years, early adulthood, and his years as a comedy duo with Jack Burns.

It is a little less so or perhaps not quite as informative as one would wish when it comes to Carlin's transformation from a run of the mill comic to the counterculture icon in FM & AM and Class Clown.

Carlin's relationship with his first wife was stormy and he does not hide that fact or his responsibility in that. He also does not shirk his part in his daughter's problems. This, however, is a minor part of Last Words a memoir.

The most interesting section in George Carlin s biography is the last third of the book. That period coincides with the HBO specials first put Carlin back on the comedy map and then allowed him to become the kind of comic everybody respected.

Overall George Carlin Last Words is a good book but not a great one or a must.

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