Friday, January 12, 2018

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton

Written by: Matt Phelan

First line: Life in Muskegon, Michigan, was quiet.

Why you should read this book: In the summer of 1908, a large group of vaudeville performers chose a tiny neighborhood in Michigan as the perfect spot for a leisurely vacation, bringing with them elephants, zebras, and the young "knockabout" comedian, Buster Keaton. Buster was practically born on stage, and his ability to take a fall, make a deadpan joke, and engineer a prank all seem amazing and desirable to his new friend, a local named Henry who wishes he, too, could become a vaudeville star. Keaton, indifferent to his fame, prefers baseball and building things. This is both a lovely book about a boy in a small town yearning for bigger things, as well as an introduction to vaudeville and the state of American entertainment prior to the development of movie houses.

Why you shouldn't read this book: An actor stole your girlfriend.

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