Friday, October 8, 2010

Teaching the Pig to Dance

Between his careers in acting and politics, Fred Thompson could probably write a semi-interesting autobiography. Instead, however, he chose to focus his autobiography, Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances, on his childhood. That was a mistake. See, the problem is, not many unusual and exciting things happened to Thompson as a child.

Thompson takes us through his childhood, sharing stories of his family, his dog, and the trouble he got into in school (which, of course, are not in chronological order because that would make me too happy). What Thompson didn’t share, though, was why we should care. The only parts of the book that kept me interested were the parts where he veered away from his childhood and talked about how he got into acting and how, as a young man, he balanced raising a young family with attending law school.

Thompson did have the right touch for how much politics to put into his book. Even though Teaching the Pig to Dance was an autobiography, I expected it to tell me why I should be a conservative. However, though Thompson gave his reasons for aligning himself with the conservative side (despite hailing from a democratic-voting family), he did not use his book as a platform to recruit for the party. It was the perfect amount of politics.

Thompson’s writing was unremarkable; it was neither engaging nor hard to follow. Once I picked it up, it didn’t take long to get through the pages, but I was not inspired to pick it up in the first place. Keeping that in mind, Teaching the Pig to Dance gets a 2/5.

Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Fred Thompson

Buy the book

My grad school work is really picking up, so it may be a bit longer before my next review. But, rest assured, I’m not giving up!