A spirited look at stardom.

OUT OF THE CORNER

A MEMOIR

An actor’s intimate self-portrait.

In a gossipy, lively memoir, Grey (b. 1960) chronicles her evolving sense of identity—as a woman, actor, wife, and, most satisfyingly, mother—in what she calls an “ongoing coming-of-age story.” Born into an “extended family of Broadway royalty,” the daughter of actors Joel Grey and Jo Wilder, she was frequently uprooted between Los Angeles and New York, where her world was enlivened by her parents’ famous friends: actors, directors, artists, writers, activists, and even New York Mayor John Lindsay. “We lived in some extraordinary places,” Grey writes, “among extraordinary, accomplished humans.” Determined to be an actor, she enrolled at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre while, like many hopefuls, she worked as a server at a series of restaurants. Although she went out on plenty of auditions, she attributes her lack of success to her nose, which made her “not quite ‘pretty enough’ for the popular girl, but not awkward enough to pass for the loser.” Two roles charged her career: Matthew Broderick’s sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Baby Houseman in Dirty Dancing (1987) with co-star Patrick Swayze. Grey recounts in detail the challenges of making and promoting Dirty Dancing, a movie that few had faith in—but that catapulted her to stardom. She is forthcoming about her many relationships, including with Broderick; Johnny Depp; an older director; a sexy hairdresser; and director and actor Clark Gregg, whom she married, recently divorced, and with whom she has a daughter. Grey has dealt with some severe health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and persistent anxiety and depression. “Ambition had a strangely distasteful and negative connotation to me,” she writes, continuing, “I had never been a big fan of competition and was quick to avoid conflict.” Yet at the age of 50, she enthusiastically competed on Dancing With the Stars—and won.

A spirited look at stardom.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35670-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A well-written account about a young man’s mistake and the threat of dire consequences.

INTO TROUBLE

In this memoir, an American man recounts heading to Europe to see his German girlfriend and ending up on the wrong side of the law in Franco’s Spain.

Gorman was 19 years old in 1969 and dreading the thought of the Vietnam War draft. He had a girlfriend, a German exchange student named Hilke, who had encouraged him to meet her in Hamburg. Anxious to escape his rough home life, the author left Washington state and hitchhiked across America, getting into some precarious situations along the way. He made it to Europe via Icelandic Airlines, followed by more hitchhiking to Hamburg. Gorman was tall, blond, and young, but he wasn’t quite ready for the women he met on the way to West Germany, and he was only thinking of Hilke. Unfortunately, her reception was somewhat cool, so he ventured on to Paris and Barcelona, loving the sights but not the winter weather. A friend encouraged him to go to the Canary Islands, and the author readily agreed (“If Barcelona was dark and mysterious, Las Palmas was vibrant as it basked in a golden Impressionistic glow”). Las Palmas wasn’t very touristy yet; Swedish women lined the beaches; and the cost of living was cheap. Even so, Gorman was wayward, often slept on the beach, and some of his friends were sketchy. A Canadian lured him into a tricky insurance scam, which promised a decent payout but came with risks for a naïve person in Fascist Spain. The author’s wistful, graceful memoir harkens back to the days when Europe wasn’t completely overrun with tourists and the cultural norms were more clear-cut. His vivid, penniless romp around Europe included adventures both big and small, some danger, and the occasional kindness from strangers. It’s an engaging story that has enough unlikely details to seem believable, especially as he entered the Spanish prison system. Like many travelers, Gorman mainly associated with expatriates, so the local Canarian culture is left in the background.

A well-written account about a young man’s mistake and the threat of dire consequences.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-578-94847-8

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Rain City Cinema LLC

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2022

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A fast-paced and boisterously readable assemblage of true stories.

WHO NEEDS HEAVEN?

TRUE STORIES

A memoir offers vignettes from an entire lifetime.

In his latest work of nonfiction, Binder looks back on his life and renders several incidents and themes in a series of autobiographical stories. The author has led a picaresque life, with many adventures and crises, and he’s inserted many of these escapades into the entertaining, touching, and often enlightening tales arranged in these pages. He takes readers back to his childhood, painting affectionate portraits of the many people who influenced him while he was growing up. Binder includes a particularly memorable remembrance of his mother, who was felled by a serious stroke that robbed her of her speech (“Visiting her in the human warehouse they call a hospital, I’d point to letters of the alphabet printed on a card and she would blink to spell the word she wanted to convey”). He also gives readers a captivating, behind-the-scenes look at the famous child evangelist Marjoe Gortner. Binder worked on the crew that produced the Academy Award–winning 1972 documentary about Gortner’s illusion-dispelling revival tour, in which he exposed the deceits of his childhood ministry. The author watched all of this up close and relates it with enthusiasm and sympathy. (Sometimes a touch too much sympathy, since at one point even Binder seems convinced by the enthusiasm of the crowd: “I don’t believe in magic, nor do I believe in God, but I do believe in miracles. I witnessed one.”) Whether he’s recalling partying with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson in Las Brisas, Texas, or recounting the fracas he and his partner got into in 1966 at the Albany Convention Center when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was speaking (“Reporters grabbed at our feet trying to trip us up and bring us down. They failed. I was exhilarated”), the author has clearly told most of these tales many times in his life. These written versions are fine-tuned to perfection and provide a large and constantly moving banquet of intriguing moments.

A fast-paced and boisterously readable assemblage of true stories.

Pub Date: March 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9998695-5-0

Page Count: 363

Publisher: F-Stop Books

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2020

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