Ever since Ron embodied Hellboy for Guillermo del Toro (and oh my did he ever!) I have been interested in this indiosyncratic actors career. As his popularity rose with his turn as Clay Morrow on Sons of Anarchy, I found his demeanor and presence in interviews to be quite unexpected. Thoughtful, soft-spoken, intelligent but still little brash and rough around the edges. This book encompasses those aspects and more. Part memoir, part a call to arms for the next generations, he uses his own experiences to great effect. Very conversational and more than a little scatalogical, he discusses his humble beginnings and growing up in Washington Heights, the inspiration his father and mother gave him as a kid. Life wasn’t always easy for them but his parents were loving and supportive, creative and dynamic. To try to overcome his feelings of being on the outside, he got involved in musical theater at high school and switched to serious theater in college. Throughout the book he recounts experiences with films and television, giving great credit and respect to those who inspired him and helped make him the actor and person he is today.
I really appreciated his candor and frankness about the vagaries of life, not just an artists life. Straighforward and unvarnished at times. For the most part you feel like you are having a lively conversation over a stogie and a nice adult beverage. There isn’t much in the way of “hollywood gossip”, which I was happy about and even when he was fanboy-ing out over Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, it was rather charming.
Overall I found this book quite enjoyable and a good peek into the mind and heart of someone who was determined to “own it all. By owning I mean that each of the memories from our childhood must be appreciated, or at least come to terms with, because the foundation is what made us who we are, is what gave us our values and ways to cope.” And in that ownership, becoming a whole person, fully engaged in life and in his art.