One of the oldest clichés in comedy is the sad man under the clown face. This is, unfortunately, true in the case of Louie Anderson. Anderson is a great stand-up comic unfortunately better known for his stint on Family Feud than for his comedy or his very funny Life With Louie cartoons. Louie Anderson is also known for Dear Dad: Letters From An Adult Child, an epistolary autobiography of sorts.
Dear Dad: Letters From An Adult Child is Louie Anderson's effort to figure out what makes him tick and who he is by trying to figure out and come to terms with his alcoholic father. Fans of comedy books will be greatly disappointed as there are few jokes here but fans of Anderson, biographies, and good writing will enjoy this collection of letters to an absent father. Through these letters, Anderson deals with growing up with a violent, temperamental drunk who, it seems, was simply tired of life and greatly saddened by the way his life turned out. Anderson senior was a jazz trumpet player who basically had to give up life on the road with Hoagy Carmichael to support his eleven kids.
Through his letters to his deceased father, Anderson reveals a lot about himself, his formative years, a little about his early years in stand-up comedy (though not enough for the comedy fan alone), and definitely shows how strong a woman his mother is and was. The Anderson clan seems to all have developed some kind of problems later in life due to this absentee due to alcohol and very withdrawn father. It is the kind of book anyone dealing with this kind of childhood, alcohol or not, will find rewarding and, perhaps, inspiring.
In trying to figure out his father, Anderson inevitably ends up discovering something about himself although in that sense this book is somewhat incomplete. The reader is happy, however, that he manages to come to terms with Louie Anderson Senior
Other Louie Anderson Reviews
Mom Louie's Looking At Me Again - Live at the Guthrie: Stand-up comedy DVD that is great fun for anyone, from a dysfunctional family or not.