Monday, January 16

I Didn't Ask to Be Born by Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is a funny guy.  Ask pretty much anyone and they’ll tell you the same thing.  If you don’t believe them, find some episodes of The Cosby Show, or look him up on YouTube.  I’ve found him to be able to merge humor and wisdom together in a ways that many couldn’t.  So, I eagerly looked forward to reading I Didn’t Ask to Be Born and readying myself to explain to those around me why I was laughing.

I Didn’t Ask to Be Born is a collection of ‘observations’ that Cosby has made.  Many of them are stories from his own life, where he always stresses either the unusual nature of it, or in some case the seeming normalcy of life.  For example, the chapter “The Missing Pages” find Cosby wondering what happened ‘between’ Bible stories, and “Too Late for Me but Perhaps Not for You is a story of his interaction with his daughter.  Interspersed through the book are short, one panel comics, which typically relate to the story being interspersed.

In reading I Didn’t Ask to Be Born there were times where I could nearly hear Bill Cosby speaking in my ear.  The writing and flow of the stories read as if they were written to be read aloud.  While on one hand, it was fun to imagine Cosby’s voice speaking, I couldn’t help but think how much better it would’ve been to actually hear him.  Reading something meant to be written isn’t nearly as good as hearing it.  Some of the stories seemed to drag, or had awkward pauses, which I imagine might’ve been meant for funny expressions on behalf of Cosby.  But you can’t read facial expressions or hand movements.

Also, most of the stories weren’t actually that funny.  I chuckled a few times at stories such as “Cabbage Patch,” “They Should Do This Every Three Months,” and bits and pieces of other stories, but for the most part the stories were not enjoyable.  Again, I attribute part of this to wanting to hear them read aloud.  Perhaps an audio book version would be better?  Also, I was not impressed with the comics.    They didn’t add to the stories and the style they were drawn in wasn’t one I enjoyed.

I haven’t read Cosby’s other book, so I don’t know how similar it is.  If you have the chance to listen to an audio book (assuming one exists and Cosby is reading), this book may be worth a try.  Otherwise, I’d stick to his standup comedy and The Cosby Show.  Something about hearing Cosby is what is such a large part of the fun.

2/5 stars

I received this book free from Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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