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The Moon's a Balloon by David Niven
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The Moon's a Balloon (1971)

by David Niven

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Read long, long ago, but still memorable. Niven is a master storyteller, in the "spin a yarn" mold, and my image of Hollywood is almost entirely formed by this book and it's sequel.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and very very charming. ( )
1 vote krazykiwi | Aug 22, 2016 |
Charming. Absolutely charming.

This isn't the greatest of memoirs I have read but Niven's rather down to earth narration makes it worthwhile. For someone so well known, he could have been much more arrogant but it is one of the aspects that makes this book so readable that he does not mind telling of his failures.

And, yet, I would have hoped for more insights and opinions rather than a more or less straight run-down of his life and career. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
A wonderful read ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
David Niven tells his life story (or at the least the first part of it) in this book, and he does it in wonderfully entertaining, genuinely amusing and often quite touching fashion. From his early life with a distant stepfather, through his life in the Highland Light Infantry, before deciding to give up a military career to try his luck in Hollywood (although he returned to Britain to fight in World War II), Niven takes the reader on a journey packed with anecdotes and funny interludes.

As he explains in the introduction, he drops names all over the place, particularly while talking about his film career, but he remains respectful throughout, and his genuine affection and respect for many of his contemporaries comes through. His stories – both of his Hollywood life, and his military career – are peppered with laugh-out-loud one-liners; several times I would burst out laughing and then insist on reading bits out to my husband. Niven is truly a wonderful storyteller and raconteur – he is also self-effacing and honest about his own shortcomings, and modest about his talents as an actor.

Details of his film career also reveal some of Hollywood’s machinations, and by the end of the book – which was published in 1972 – it’s clear that he is unhappy about a changing film industry.

Unlike many such memoirs, Niven did not use a ghostwriter – the writing is his own – and he has a lovely turn of phrase, but is also capable of showing genuine emotion, such as when he describes the tragic death of his first wife, which had me struggling to hold back tears.

If you are at all interested in David Niven, or Hollywood in the 40s – 60s, I would definitely recommend this book. ( )
2 vote Ruth72 | May 4, 2014 |
A wonderful book for film buffs especially for the fifties, sixties and seventies. David Niven was not a great actor, but an amiable fellow who knew everyone. He was also a great raconteur, and this is the top bit of the stack, a goldmine of entertaining gossip.
Read twice. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Jan 23, 2014 |
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Evelyn Waugh penned these words: "Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography."
Nessie, when I first saw her, was nineteen, honey-blond, pretty rather than beautiful, a figure like a two-armed Venus de Milo who had been on a sensible diet, had a pair of legs that went on forever, and a glorious sense of the ridiculous.
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