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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman

I picked this up at Book Expo 2015 with the full intention of reading it as soon as possible. I loved Phil Hartmnn (Newsradio, anyone?), and I remember his death as part of the zeitgeist. I read it very recently because my boyfriend's brother was talking about Hartman's genius, and I realized that I could pass this book on to him. This is Mike Thomas's You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman seemed, at times, to be larger than life. How could a man so handsome and charming also be so damned funny? While he seemed like a break out talent on Saturday Night Live, the truth is that he worked for years to make it there. Through his time with the Groundlings through his work on The Simpsons and NewsRadio, Phil was known for his impressions, his heart, and his talent. His third wife, Brynn, shot him before turning the gun on herself in 1998. This book follows Phil through his life, his career, and ultimately, his death.

I was one of those fans of Hartman's, as I grew up in that particular era of SNL. All of his sketches stay with me, and while I would have liked for this book to go further, I do think it did a good job of painting Hartman as more than the circumstances behind his death. It's easy to get lost in the details surrounding his murder, especially if you are anything like me and love a good, salacious murder. I appreciated that this book went farther and spent time talking about what Hartman went though on his journey to experience success.

Thomas was quite sympathetic toward it's characters, and he was particularly kind to Brynn. He spent time talking with Hartman's family about the night they lost their son and brother, and no one appears to be bitter or angry. There is only sadness surrounding the circumstances. The focus of the book is really on Phil's childhood and his rise to fame, all of which encompasses many years of struggle and feeling lost. It's an interesting read, as it portrays Phil as a full-bodied human with flaws like the rest of it. I certainly appreciate that.

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