Book Review: Robin by David Itzkoff

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Robin

Reviewed by: Alex

Genre: Biography

Format: Hardcover

Page count: 440

Rating: 8.5/10

In Stock?: Yes!

 

Robin is the biography of the one and only Robin Williams, written by David Itzkoff.

Admittedly I avoided this book for a very long time, having been a Robin Williams fan since I was young.  When he died I was sad, like most of his fans, and I didn’t want to read a book that somebody else had written about him for fear it would damage the image of him I held in my mind.  About two months ago I picked it up and started to read it, intending to only read a little as I didn’t have time to delve into a four-hundred-page book.  From the first page I was greeted by the familiarity that one would get from watching Williams perform and I read the entirety within two weeks.

“it was the late summer of 1977 and no one in the Great American Music Hall feels like laughing anymore” This opening line is probably one of my favorites, as it sets the tone for the rest of the book, detailing how Williams did things that nobody else could do and how he overcame so much in order to appear as the personality loved by so many, and that no matter who you are, you cannot find it in you to hate him.

The biography tackles Robin’s childhood, including the wild shenanigans he and his friends got into when they thought that nobody was looking, about the half siblings he hadn’t met until he was ten years old and about how mental illness had followed him around for most of his life.

If you’re a fan of the Williams you’ve seen on screen and are afraid to read this for fear of it changing your perception of him, then don’t read it.  It will make you see just how brave he was and how while he was struggling and hating himself he wouldn’t stand to see others in pain and went out of his way to make people smile.  You will watch Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society with a different frame of mind, and you’ll smile sadly, possibly through tears, every time you watch Mrs. Doubtfire, but what could be better than a book that can evoke feeling with nothing more than the words its written in? Not a whole lot.

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