December 11, 2015

Review: The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray

The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray A Critical Appreciation of the World's Finest Actor
By Robert Schnakenberg
Available now from Quirk Books
Review copy

Bill Murray is a cultural touchstone.  He's had a large influence on comedy, critical success with drama, and enjoys starring in strange anecdotes.  I like many of his performances, although I wouldn't consider myself a fan.  I haven't followed his career in any real capacity.

I'm certainly not Robert Schnakenberg, who has exhaustively researched Bill Murray and knows what sports and music he likes on top of the history of his performances.  THE BIG BAD BOOK OF BILL MURRAY only draws from secondary sources, but Schnakenberg clearly researched those exhaustively.

It's honestly a bit too exhaustive for me.  THE BIG BAD BOOK OF BILL MURRAY is laid out as an encyclopedia, covering the movies Bill Murray has been in, people he's associated with, movies he was considered for, and more in alphabetical order.  I started losing steam somewhere around the D's.  This is more a book to idly flip through than read front to back.  (And it is wonderful to flip through!  Quirk Books specializes in gift books, and this one is nicely designed indeed.)

I was shocked by the entry on Butler, Jennifer "Jenny."  Jenny Butler was Murray's second wife, who put out a restraining order on Murray during their divorce and alleged that he abused her.  I'd never heard any of this before.  I do think it is commendable that Schnakenberg didn't stick to hyperbolic praise throughout the whole book.  There's some less-than-flattering anecdotes in THE BIG BAD BOOK OF BILL MURRAY in addition to the love for his performances.

I think THE BIG BAD BOOK OF BILL MURRAY will delight fans of the actor.  It is quite thorough and quite lovely.  I might still not be a fan, but I feel like I know more about the man now.

1 comment:

  1. I do like gift books; they are often packaged so nicely. That's good the author didn't JUST stick to positive information.


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