Book Review – Without you by Anthony Rapp

Title: Without You: A memoir of love, loss, and the musical Rent
Author: Anthony Rapp
Format: Paperback
Written: 2006
Published: 2006

I have a gay friend (and really, all of us ladies need to have one good, gay friend) who got me hooked on the musical Rent.  I love Rent.  There’s nothing about it that I hate (okay, except for when Angel dies, and the fact that he looks better in a skirt than I ever could hope to), and really, I mean that.  It surpassed Once as #1 in my list of Musicals to Watch.

Phew.  Now that I’ve gushed… I saw this book on the shelf of a discount bookseller at a book festival here in Nashville and I bought it on the spot, breaking my cardinal rule of only buying books at the festival that I could get signed.

When I got around to reading it (you should see the avalanche that is my TBR pile), I realized there was a lot more going on than just talk of the musical.  Anthony Rapp – if you don’t know rent, you may remember him from Adventures in Babysitting (the horror!) – talks about his family, his career, the men he’s dated, his mother’s cancer (cancer is the suck), and, you know, the musical.

Here’s the thing.  Tonio (as his mother calls him) may be phenomenal as an actor and a singer, but he’s not the best writer.  I couldn’t help but feel like he was holding back a little.  Like… it’s one thing to say “oh, this was sad so I cried,” but its another thing to actually show us the crying.  And I felt like there was talk of crying but no hope for need of a tissue. (Disclaimer: I did cry when his mother died, but my Grandmother died of cancer, so it’s personal.  I was crying for Gramma more than anything.)

I did learn a lot about the musical.  But it was interjected with several other things (sometimes a bit poorly), and that was distracting. Like, one minute he’s talking about the musical, then he’s talking about a boyfriend that may or may not have been in his life, his brother, etc.

I think I would have rather read a memoir about just his private life, or a memoir about just his time on Rent.  (Side note, all the talk is about Broadway, they only talk about the movie version for two pages and its glossed over, since it happens right about the time the book got written. Not saying if that’s good or bad, just letting you know.)

The worst thing is that (probably because this is divided so much) I can name a better book about homosexuality or cancer or friendship or just about anything else that this book touches on.  I love Anthony Rapp, I was just a bit underwhelmed with this.

Bottom line – if you seriously like Rent (and not just the movie version), read it. It’s not the best book, but it’s an entertaining read.  Three out of five pages.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: