celeb memoirs

Full Frontal Nudity Harry Hamlin

I’ve posted about full frontal nudity so many times this past year I decided to read a book titled Full Frontal Nudity by Harry Hamlin. It’s memoir. It was pubbed a few years ago. Here’s the book description from Amazon:

IN 2008, as he attempted to enter Canada to film a television series, Harry Hamlin—the former star of L.A. Law and once People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive—was detained at the border for unresolved narcotics convictions. And so begins Full Frontal Nudity, a laugh-out-loud-funny memoir in which Harry digs deep into his past to recount the wacky experiences of his childhood, the twisted path that led to his alleged criminal behavior, and the series of fortuitous mishaps that drove him to become an actor.

Harry was reared in suburban California in the late 1950s by a gin-gulping, pill-popping housewife mother and a rocket scientist father with a secret life. On its surface, his childhood was not unlike his peers’, except that he was kicked out of the fourth grade for writing a book report on Mein Kampf and, when he was eleven, his parents gave him a subscription to Playboy for Christmas. Curious by nature, chock-full of boyish charm and good looks, Harry experimented with mystical religion and set off for Woodstock, only to narrowly avoid lighting the whole of Yellowstone National Park on fire. At eighteen, he was ready to matriculate at Berkeley and become the architect he always wanted to be. But fate—this time in the form of a large Hells Angel, a few purple microdots, and an evening in the tree houses of La Honda—got in the way.

I didn’t just read this because of the title. I’m not THAT shallow, I hope not anyway. Part of the reason I read this was because I’ve been a huge fan of Harry Hamlin’s since he starred in the film, Making Love, which was the first mainstream feature film…that I can recall…with a gay theme, gay characters, and a gay love story. I once posted about it here. At the time, the straight critics slammed it for reasons I still don’t understand today. Because it was not only accurate, it really did deal with two gay men and their personal circumstances in a realistic way. It was also the first time I’d ever seen anything on film…this includes TV…where the main characters were not hippy activists or extremely effeminate. These characters were two normal men who broke all the gay stereotypes then…and now. I had no idea at the time a gay man could be a doctor. I was so young when I saw this film it frightened me and at the same time sparked something deep inside of me.

And now Hamlin is playing a complicated gay character on the TV show, Shameless. Once again, he’s breaking the stereotypes in ways no one has done before and he hasn’t received an ounce of credit for this. But after reading his book, I don’t think he really cares one way or the other. And I say this because it looks as if he’s reached a point where the most important thing in his life now is spending time with his family, and getting to know his kids. I know that feeling well.

I’m not going into a detailed review deal here with the book. It’s not the sort of book that needs extensive analysis. Sometimes that’s a good thing, too. But I will say that I loved it. It did teach me a few things about Hamlin I didn’t know…many things. And, it made me laugh in more than a few places. In fact, from page one, where he’s forced to deal with an idiot in order to get a work permit in Canada, I started to smile. He also speaks candidly about his personal life, and reveals a lot of his thoughts which is something I don’t often see in memoirs. The writing style seems innocent, but by no means offensive. But I didn’t read this book to critique his writing and I didn’t expect Ernest Hemingway. While the book most likely won’t change your life, it will entertain you, and for me that’s always more than enough. Five stars, if I decide to post this on Amazon.