The Dangerous Animals Club by Stephen Tobolowsky

I’ve mentioned previously about the wonderful podcast series by Stephen Tobolowsky. In the podcast series, Stephen Tobolowsky shares stories of his life, his career and his family. The stories span from his childhood to his recent open heart surgery and run the gamut from funny to touching. Now, he has translated his podcasts to a new book: The Dangerous Animals Club. The book covers the same territory as the some of the podcasts (I believe I read somewhere that there will be a total of 3 books assuming sales hold up), but it’s interesting to see it in a different format. Let’s check it out.

Stephen Tobolowsky has lead an interesting life. He discovered his passion for acting fairly early on and worked diligently towards it ever since. Along the way, he found love, had a professor try to throw him out of the drama department, went to graduate school and finally started a successful(ish) career as a character actor in Hollywood. He’s never going to be the leading man who gets the girl and saves the world, but might be the plumber or doctor or insurance salesman who comes on to interact with the person who does save the world.

Along the way he’s had several interesting people help him out. His first love, Beth Henley, turned from acting to playwright and ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize (and an Academy Award nomination). This book covers a lot of Stephen Tobolowsky’s life with Beth, including the ending of the relationship. Tobolowsky also relates a wonderful story of getting a film education on the set of Mississippi Burning by director Alan Parker.

The main reason to read this book is Stephen Tobolowsky’s writing. The book doesn’t have his wonderful voice inflections, but the writing is just amazing. Tobolowsky has an ability to tell the story and bring the reader in as an accomplice and make you feel like you were there. The stories in book form are just as wonderful as they were on the podcast. Highly recommended.