Oct 4, 2017

[Books] Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man Audible Review

Most my Audible books tend to be biographies of one geeky star or another and it was a little unusual to finally listen through a biography that is not written by the author. But hey this is a Star Trek thing so I had to make an exception, right?

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man is a rather loving tribute to the unforgettable Leonard Nimoy. Sure, he's an especially larger than life figure among Star Trek fans, but he's also a well-known pop culture icon.

Listening to this narrative was actually quite emotional and it certainly gave me a lot to think about. As much as I've been largely familiar with the stories of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, this was a greater revelation that felt a lot more intimate. And hearing it in Shatner's own voice just added to the weight of things.

Synopsis: Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man is a biography written by William Shatner. This Audible audio book is read by William Shatner as well.

Initially I thought this would center on their time together on Star Trek and any encounters in the years after. But actually it starts much earlier and whether through research or information gleaned from their man conversations over the years, Mr. Shatner was actually able to talk about Leonard Nimoy's childhood and how he got into acting. There's a lot of material to cover there.

And of course it goes on to cover Leonard's life as an actor at length. If anything it was fascinating to listen to William Shatner's thoughts on acting as an art and a craft and his repeated praises for Leonard Nimoy as an actor. It's easy to get lost in the usual public stories about competition between them while on Star Trek but in this book you really hear his admiration for the man. Maybe they were rivals then but by the time he wrote this book after Nimoy's passing, there was certainly a lot of love for the man.

What I Liked: William Shatner is a pretty thoughtful man and this book is a great demonstration of that. And here his focus is pretty much all on sharing all that he knows of his friend Nimoy. And in that regard this book feels quite genuine - and that tone of honesty does a lot for its value as a narrative experience. And it feels like so much work was put into making the coverage of this book to capture as much of Leonard Nimoy's life in a book.

And Shatner has a lovely reading cadence that makes the audio book experience quite engaging and at times poetic. And you can hear his sincerity in putting this book together as a way to process his own feelings over the death of his friend.

What Could Have Been Better: All that said, William Shatner is William Shatner and does tend to wander off into strange tangents of Leonard Nimoy's life or just random bits on acting in general. He's not the most concise writer in this regard and there are a lot of parts that feel like he's losing sight of telling the core story.

And as a third-party account, there's only so much that he can share about his life. He largely took an approach where he tries to be somewhat objective in his discussion of his life. But maybe it could have been more personal or perhaps more introspective and I think that's the last barrier to really, really celebrating this book.

TL;DR: Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man is largely a touching effort to tell the story of Leonard Nimoy and in that regard acts as a tribute to a great man. The book still covers a lot of ground and it's a nice reading experience. Thus the audio book gets a good 3.5 stories about Leonard Nimoy out of a possible 5.


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