Hilarious and insightful – this is an ideal read for anyone hoping to work in the film industry.
I must have been about 15 when I first watched Blazing Saddles and I was instantly blown away by the way in which Mel Brooks and his collaborators on this hilarious and always on the edge of what is appropriate comedy used it to make a serious point about racism among other serious topics. This is something (as made clear in this insightful and engaging book) that he has constantly done with all of his films and it has worked wonderfully over the years – which is why he is so beloved by so many people.
This autobiography might not be about his private life as such (something that is made very clear from the start) but it is a fascinating journey of how a Jewish boy from Brooklyn ended up becoming one of the best known film makers of his generation. It is filled to the brim with anecdotes about how films such as Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein were created – which is a real thrill to read about – but equally it pays tribute to the many different people that he has worked with over the years and he makes it clear he wouldn’t have got to where he is without so many of them.
Many of these names might not be familiar to younger generations – but in reality this doesn’t matter as thanks to the way in which Brooks narrates his own story makes the reader feel as though they do get to know them in a sense and feels like a celebration of all the people involved with the film making process.
Yes it is clear that Brooks is looking back at his incredible career through rose tinted glasses and can make the book feel as though it is a bit too gushing in places – but can you really blame him? This was a book that was written to entertain – and it certainly does from start to finish. The knowledge and understanding with regards to the process of making comedy, film and later musicals that he offers and the advice he was given by others makes this a must-read for anyone hoping to go into comedy or film industry.
Throughout All About Me it is clear just how truly grateful he has been to have the career that he has had and the joy that comedy has given him in his life feels extremely sincere. The whole book reads easily and he moves from each aspect of his career with ease and style that makes it a book that is difficult to put down.
Yes it is not a typical autobiography with regards to only little references to his private life – but he has plenty of fascinating stories about his career that still make you feel as though you get to know Mel Brooks on some level. Personally – I feel as though it is one of the most lively and enjoyable autobiographies that I have read in a long time.
By Emma Clarendon
All About Me is available to buy now.