ADORE this image. I call it “Chaplin At Rest” or “Laundry – the Tramp Way”. Found it after a mad search online. After becoming Charlie-crazed (much like the fans of his day) while reading Sunnyside by Glen David Gold. I heart heart heart this novel SO much. I’m really digging it – devouring it actually, like a starved raving rabid dog. How does one write like Mr. Gold, please tell me? An historical novel (wait, don’t run for the hills) that is completely engaging, a total page turner. It’s made me fall in love with Charlie – his unruly hair, his obsessive nature, his lascivious manner disguised in a childlike smile. Or maybe I can just really identify because it’s a little TOO much like me…
In any case, I look forward to the time each day when I get to pour over Gold’s words. And like Gold (I’m assuming) I too am now completely obsessed with all things Chaplin.
Gold has taken an engaging narrative and injected it with observations on not only American culture, but patriotism, capitalism, and the nature of celebrity. Chaplin was the 2nd worldwide celebrity, Houdini being the first. However, Chaplin was DEFINITELY the first celebrity who became famous for not being there. For doing his thing on film, not in person. Where Houdini was dangling directly above the masses (and failed miserably in the movies), Chaplin lured people into his character, his world, strictly from film. A comedian, choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, studio owner, and song writer. Did you know he wrote “Smile” the song sung at the Michael Jackson memorial? I didn’t. Maybe Jermaine’s version will bring publicity, and new readers, to this book. Probably not, but one can hope. The book is that good.
God, I loved Houdini as a kid. Where other kids were buying Tiger Beat and plastering their walls with grinning pictures of Shaun Cassidy or Scott Baio, I was staring longingly at Harry. His hands up near his face in a classic pose that said, “Come hither, let me show you something mysteriously wonderful and magical!” His hair a wiry mess of curls. His eyes trying to look scary, but in actually they were more mischievous and twinkly. And for that 13-year-old dorky geek girl, it was all I needed.
Coincidence that I’m now pouring over a book about his celebrity successor? While going through what is probably a mid-life crisis? As well as a jealous rage because I can’t write like Glen David Gold? Probably not. Okay, rage isn’t the right word, but the envy is so green and deep it’s like a frikkin emerald ribbon some prospector discovered down in Australia. Or Africa. Or wherever they dig up emeralds. Hell, who would’ve thought that I’d admire an author named GLEN anyway?
But I do. Glen’s book is great. Just great. Dammit, it’s so frikkin’ great that I’ll probably cry when I reach the end. And now that I’ve seen Glen himself on film, creating his own brand of celebrity (the irony of that + the book’s topic isn’t lost believe me), I want to buy him a whiskey. He’s sarcastic, intelligent, engaging, funny, and mischievous. Just like his books….