An Improvised Life: A Memoir
Da Capo Press, 201 pages.
Alan Arkin, if you believe his father, knew he was going to be an actor at the age of five, a fact which would seem to belie the title of his book: despite his claims, there's the distinct sense that his professional life went more or less according to plan. An award-winning actor and director, Arkin is best known today for playing old curmudgeons, such as in Little Miss Sunshine and The Change-Up (he also has a cameo in The Muppets). But he's appeared in over 80 films and has a theatrical track record that most actors would with envy. No doubt about it, Arkin's life doesn't truly seemed to have been improvised at all: he made a plan when he was five and stuck to it. Or at least that's how it seems in An Improvised Life, which skips over almost all of Arkin's personal struggles and focuses entirely on his philosophies on acting and a life in the arts. It's an enjoyable read if you're an artist; anyone else, I suspect, will find it (amazingly) lacks drama.