Saturday, October 28, 2023

Being Henry

Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond by Henry Winkler
10/31/23; 256 pages
Celadon Books

Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond by Henry Winkler is a very highly recommended, thoughtful memoir from the actor, author, comedian, director and producer. Henry Winkler really is a nice guy and it comes across beautifully in his memoir.

Most people will recognize Winkler for his iconic role as the Fonz, Arthur Fonzarelli, on Happy Days, and this is most certainly covered along with the many other roles he has played on Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, and Barry to name a few, working as a director and producer and co-author of the Hank Zipzer children’s book series. This memoir covers Winkler's career with honesty, the highs and the lows.

Winkler openly shares some stories from his daunting childhood and academic deficiencies in school. He learned to use humor to cover his trials and this self-deprecating humor is clearly demonstrated throughout the narrative as he acknowledges insight into his personal struggles. The cause of many of his difficulties was revealed later in his life when he was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 31. Occasionally there are interjections from Stacey, his wife of 45 years, to offer an explanation or different perspective on something.

While it tells all, don't expect any dirt to be dished out about others, cementing the fact that Winkler is truly a nice guy without a huge ego. Many celebrity names are mentioned, but if the details are unflattering to the person in story, names are left out. If the story is about himself, he will freely admit his faults and shortcomings.

The Hank Zipzer books, featuring a main character with dyslexia, have touched a whole group of children that need the extra support. He writes: It has always struck me that out emphasis on the top ten percent of a class says they are more valuable than the bottom three percent. It this country is going to remain strong we need every child to be great at what they can do. Winkler and his family are committed to helping children.

Being Henry is an excellent memoir! Additionally, Winkler loves dogs so how could anyone not want to read his autobiography.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Celadon Books via NetGalley.

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