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Ham: Slices of a Life: Essays and Stories by…
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Ham: Slices of a Life: Essays and Stories

by Sam Harris

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This was... a perfectly adequate read. Some of the stories, especially the ones involving Liza Minnelli, were charming and interesting. A few of the anecdotes about his childhood were quite entertaining. But some of them were a little pointless (it's great that you had this cool friend named Michelle and she was like your girlfriend, but... then... what? What happened to your relationship? Are you still friends? Did you ever tell her you were gay?)

And I'm sorry, but Neil Patrick Harris did a much better job of dramatizing-in-book-form his decision to have kids with his partner.

So, unless you have a special interest in Sam Harris (first winner of Star Search, y'all!), I recommend [b:Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography|20170296|Neil Patrick Harris Choose Your Own Autobiography|Neil Patrick Harris|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1400599072s/20170296.jpg|28028860] instead. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
This book is more of a memoir as told with non-chronological stories about the life of Sam Harris. Since being the winner of Star Search, pursuing a musical career, becoming a minor celebrity and socializing with some famous people, Sam has some interesting stories to tell. We get a pretty good view of his life including his struggles with being gay, his longterm relationship with Danny, their adoption of a son, his career and his social life. I was expecting a compendium of general stories and essays. I did not know anything about Sam Harris and although the book isn't what I expected, I enjoyed his recollections because he has led an interesting life and has some good insights into being gay and becoming a celebrity.

I received a free copy from Netgalley. ( )
  jwood652 | Oct 21, 2015 |
This book is more of a memoir as told with non-chronological stories about the life of Sam Harris. Since being the winner of Star Search, pursuing a musical career, becoming a minor celebrity and socializing with some famous people, Sam has some interesting stories to tell. We get a pretty good view of his life including his struggles with being gay, his longterm relationship with Danny, their adoption of a son, his career and his social life. I was expecting a compendium of general stories and essays. I did not know anything about Sam Harris and although the book isn't what I expected, I enjoyed his recollections because he has led an interesting life and has some good insights into being gay and becoming a celebrity.

I received a free copy from Netgalley. ( )
  jwood652 | Oct 21, 2015 |
First, when I requested this book I thought it was a memoir of the atheist 'apologist' Sam Harris - it is not. It worked out okay however, because even though I didn't know THIS Sam Harris by name I am a certified musical theatre dork.

This book is honest and heartbreaking, entertaining and devastating all at the same time. It's a little reminiscent of an Augusten Burroughs memoir, but not quite as funny/tragic. While Harris is painfully honest about coming to terms with his alcoholism, he leaves out the much more important part about recovery and how he 'beat' it. Another extraordinary part in the memoir is his suicide attempt in which his eleven year old brother saves his life by stepping on a darning needle the same night that Harris decided to attempt to take his own life.

There are sweet and funny parts of this memoir concerning his long-time partner and the adoption of their son. I also especially love the eventual love and acceptance that Harris receives from his father.

Overall this is a decent memoir. Great for a short trip - but I'd read Augusten Burroughs, Tina Fey, Samantha Bee, or The Bloggess first. Still... good times.

This review is based on an advance review copy supplied through NetGalley by the publisher. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
I feel like I have been on a bit of a kick lately with reading memoirs and collections of essays. Sometimes, I think I like them because it's easy to read one story, then put the book down and do something else for a little while. They're definitely great for reading during down time at work (shh don't tell). I'm just not-so-secretly a fan of short stories, I suppose.

Sam Harris first found fame in the '80s when he won the first season of Star Search, and went on to release multiple albums, and perform on Broadway and across the world. Ham takes a look back at his life and career, from childhood to present day, in a no-holds-barred series of essays which are often funny, deeply personal, and occasionally sentimental looks at his family and close friends. (If you've never heard him sing, I've included a Youtube video of his performance way back in the day on Star Search, below!)

At first, I didn't actually know who Sam Harris was, so when I got to the third essay, all about attending Liza Minnelli's wedding, I was a little confused, like, what is this, I did not know this was some sort of celebrity tell-all. (Have I mentioned that I am really bad at remembering the summaries of books I've acquired? If I'm not reading something on a deadline, I usually just pick at random and let things like genre be a total surprise.) Once I filled myself in on the backstory, though it was smooth sailing.

The essays that follow are an interesting and touching overview of Harris' life: growing up in a small Oklahoma town, his early and enduring infatuation with the stage and stardom, coming to terms with his alcoholism, etc. One of the most touching essays touched on Harris coming out when he was a teenager, dealing with the fear and shame of being different, and how one person could make the difference to help him through that time. Other stories focus more on the present day, including the story of the birth and adoption of his son. Through it all, Harris writes with a very engaging, witty voice with a flair for the dramatic, just like the author himself.

A note to readers: one essay ("The Zoo Story") focuses on Harris telling his young son about all the various animals he grew up with. This one was hard to read because, while I don't think the stories were animal cruelty per se, the Harris family of long ago did seem to be pretty neglectful pet owners, with multiple deaths, run aways, abandonments, etc. As a pet owner who would (and has) gone into debt to care for a pet's mysterious ailments, it made me sad for all of the animals who weren't properly loved. If you're sensitive about pets, you may want to skip that essay. ( )
  goorgoahead | Feb 4, 2014 |
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The performer and first winner of Star Search presents a collection of essays about friendship, the celebrity life, and getting sober, exploring such subjects as growing up gay in America's Bible belt and attending Liza Minnelli's wedding.

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