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Review: "Nevertheless" A Memoir," by Alec Baldwin

Baldwin's interesting, suggestive and attractive voice makes this book a good listen (perhaps more appealing than on the printed page). He draws the reader in as if he's telling the listener a secret or talking confidentially while leaning across the table in the back room of a bar over glasses of Irish whiskey. Actually, that might be a good venue to meet Baldwin for the first time, as long as you could hold your own with what appears to be his strong, (contradiction here) but defensive, personality. From his upbringing in a free-wheeling, wild and lower middle class family to his peak (used liberally) of stardom, this autobiography is interesting, if not necessarily very intriguing. Enough anecdotes, stars, celebrities and politics make the read appealing. But it often seemed that items were missing or glossed over in a way. One dark and drug fueled incident of his alcohol and drug use, appeared abruptly in the narrative. I imagine that Baldwin treated it like a metaphor for all his past abuses, rather than bore the reader with multiple accounts. What he fails to understand is that readers want more than just the snapshot. They'd like to understand how you got there. Alec, you had it all, looks, talent, does one enter the first step in that downward spiral and let it all get away? That's what we're fascinated by. Unless he's just another member of the "It's all too easy and I just jumped on the bandwagon of abuse." Also his problems with substances went away all too easily when he attended an AA meeting. That's it. Done. Haven't had alcohol or anything in 25 years. We want the dirt along with the accolades and he doesn't take out the shovel. It was interesting to hear Baldwin honestly state that his "stardom" was not the shining star that he had hoped or aimed toward. His love of theater is obvious. His respect for certain specific actors is stupendous and he is tremendously thankful for the good fortune that allowed him to actually work with some of them. His love for his daughter is emphasized over and over again. The strange light in which he portrays his first marriage to Kim Bassinger rings hollow. The reader feels that there is more in both those stories that Baldwin purposely leaves out. This is not an expose and I wanted more bite. The press has often displayed Baldwin as a combative, snarky and offended star. He makes it clear that he's punched out a number of photographers, cameramen, and reporters. Even today, he is taking some hits while he defends certain actors and directors who have been accused of sexual misconduct. To be even-handed, Baldwin has lent his name, popularity and money to many charitable causes and activities, mostly of a liberal bent and he offers no apologies for his leanings. A good book, an interesting time with a compromised star. It would be good to companion his story with a biography by someone not in his skin.

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