Review–Silver Screen Fiend

Patton Oswalt (I’ve been saying his last name all wrong!) has a written book: Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film. Having liked the things I’ve seen him in and also liking fiction (and apparently unconventional memoirs), I was eager to read this.

At one point in the introduction, Oswalt claims that he talks in paragraphs. His writing style bears that out–he’s a big fan of long, intricate sentences that took me a few pages to warm up to. In fact, I almost put the book aside in the first few pages, but I have a rule that an author gets ten pages to get my attention (twenty-five for fiction, fifty for a classic). Before I knew it, I was four chapters in without wanting to put the book down. Later, when I was trying to get to sleep, I said to myself “a few more pages” and ended up reading another two chapters and started a third. It’s that kind of book, a sort of “I’m just going to have a few chips…Hey, what happened to all the chips?”

Oswalt tells about a few years in his life through the prism of his movie obsession, sometimes seeing two or three a day (and marking the ones he’d seen in books, a sign of the obsessive if I’ve seen it (I should mention that I’ve kept a movie stub from every film I’ve seen in a special binder)). It’s fascinating, especially if you’ve seen the films, but even if you haven’t. It also covers the early years of comedy and his first forays into acting. Although there were funny moments, don’t read this book if you’re looking for laughs.

If you like films, an insight into the cut-throat world of comedy, or a whirlwind tour of someone’s thought processes, you may like this book. After the first ten pages, at least!

What’s your favorite memoir?



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