Review by Booklist Review
Harold Ramis died in February 2014; for many of his fans, and for his daughter, Violet, the feeling of loss is as raw and disorienting today as it was then. This loving tribute to the author's father shows us the professional and the private man: the writer and/or director of some of our favorite films (Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, National Lampoon's Vacation) and the husband, lover, and father who never quite embraced the idea of a traditional family but who loved his family with a depth and intensity that may move some readers to tears. We learn for the first time the devastating toll his long illness autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis took on his mind and body; of a daughter he loved but kept secret from his family; of the difficulties he had coming to terms with his two-decade-long estrangement from a man who was once his best friend, Bill Murray. A lovingly remembered memoir and a frequently laugh-out-loud-funny, often tear-inducing book about a man who brought us all to tears with the sheer joy of his films.--Pitt, David Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Stiel debuts with a family memoir that offers an intimate view of her father: writer, actor, and director Harold Ramis (Animal House, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day), who died in 2014. Short, digestible chapters describe Ramis's early life and career, including editing jokes at Playboy, collaborating on National Lampoon Radio Hour, and his subsequent foray into filmmaking. A thorough exploration of family dynamics runs parallel to Ramis's professional arc, showcasing a more intimate side of the comedic legend largely unknown to admirers of his work. Ramis adopted a loose, relaxed approach to parenting, and Stiel writes that he was unabashed about his recreational drug use and had an open marriage arrangement with Stiel's mother. Stiel recalls the warmth and compassion that radiated from Ramis as he nurtured his young daughter and helped shape her personality and worldview. Accounts of Ramis's films are interspersed among these heartfelt anecdotes and hilarious asides, and Stiel often includes personal photos on location and unique insight into her father's state of mind (he was disappointed with his ending of National Lampoon's Vacation, and often apologized to the actors involved). In a work sure to satisfy fans of Ramis, Stiel renders a three-dimensional image of her father as an emblematic figure in comedy. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
It should be no surprise that the beloved late writer, director, and actor Harold -Ramis (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day) was also a devoted family man. As evidenced in his comedic body of work with its subversive yet philosophical view of human nature, eldest daughter Stiel reveals that Ramis's best fatherly advice was that "life is messy." She delightfully traces her father's journey from full-time substitute teacher to Chicago's Second City improv troupe to SCTV to his most iconic role as Ghostbuster Egon Spengler and beyond. Stiel also candidly recounts her messy Hollywood upbringing, including her parents' open marriage and eventual divorce, her own tumultuous teenage years, and the revelation that she has a half-sister, the result of Ramis's affair with Fast Times at Ridgemont High director Amy Heckerling. Despite the messiness, Ramis remained a constant source of support in his daughter's life until his death in 2014. -VERDICT Stiel's recollections of her adolescence can get tedious, but she shines in the chapters recounting her father's films with behind-the-scenes anecdotes and an emphasis on Ramis's own assessment of his work.-Amanda -Westfall, Emmet O'Neal P.L., -Mountain Brook, AL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.