Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review: Does Days of Our Lives Make Living Better?

James Scott and Kristian Alfonso
Television pundits may say soaps are not as popular as they once were, but you couldn’t tell that by the 250+ people lined up at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ to see several cast members sign their new book, entitled “Better Living”.

Being a soap fan for 35 years who has attended many soap events, the buzz on the line was still the same as it was three decades ago: fans asking each other about storylines, trying to figure out where the stories were going and adding in their ideas for future stories (basically, it’s who belongs with whom!). Even with spoilers, the prevalence of websites devoted to soaps and message rooms, the fans were still out and vocal. It was so pleasant to hear people actually talk in this electronic communication-obsessed world.

 Gering, Hall,  Menk, Bjorlin  & Campbell

It was also nice to se the mix of people there; mostly woman, but of all ages. There were more young girls, around 15-25 years old than I thought I would see. I did realize, however, that most of them watched it because it was something they did with their moms. What a nice concept.
I thought I would be one of the oldest fans there, having watched the show since high school when it came on after The Doctors, but there was someone in her sixties there that claimed she watched it since it started. I will gladly bestow upon her that title.

Galen Gering, Deidre Hall
As a surprise Deidre Hall’s twin sister Andrea was there. She told me that she "came up from Virginia to spend some time with Deidre." She was very approachable and we reminisced about her storylines on the show.

So, how is the book? For one thing, the book is a great idea. It is a fan book, filled with tons of photos of the actors and actresses in personal places and spaces, and yet it also gives some great advice. The photos are excellent, they are clearly retouched and staged because they
are all perfect, but that is to be expected. There is not a hair out of place nor a blemish on anyone’s face. The color of the photos is excellent. For instance, there is a photo of Deirdre Hall eating popcorn, or rather throwing it up in the air in what is supposed to be her living room (it may be, I don't know) wearing PJ’s that match the room. Do we think that this is really what she eats all the time while watching a movie - dry, air-popped popcorn with brewers yeast added in? Well maybe she does and maybe she doesn't but I suppose it is better to give advice to eat that over movie-style popcorn loaded with fat and oils and taste. 
Not Marlena! Suzee and Andrea Hall. Nice to see her again!

I was intrigued, or shall I say, glued, to all of the photos of Galen Garing (a great transplant from Passions) and James Scott, who by the way had his glasses on for the signing and who did not seem to have as British of an accent as he does on TV, but who cares.  The photos in the book of them were fabulous. I think the book producers (Greg Meng and Eddie Campbell) gave considerable thought as to what kinds of photos the fans would like to see them in, and what still stayed in line with the characters, and they succeeded. As I said I was glued to the photos of Galen and then when I did a more thorough “reading” of the book I realized he got the award for the most shirtless photos. 

James Marsden was shirtless while he was painting. I paint and I always wear a shirt or smock, what else do you wipe the paint from your hands on? Hmmm.. James??

Photos not to be missed include Garing in a suit (page 172), something we don’t see to often on screen, and Scott all duded up in line with his character (page 190) as we would expect a proper English bloke to be.

The photos of the ladies were all age –appropriate and perfectly planned. Whether or not these actors and actresses really do all that they say in the book is a question, however, the book succeeded in adding to the perception of the perfectness of these perfectly-poised soap people and I suppose that is what the book is meant to do.

The fact that the book gave some good, healthy advice and some recipes, especially these, could actually give it a longer shelf life, making it referred to more than just shelved.

If you are a fan of DOOL, I would say to buy this book (#BetterLiving). If you are a fan of any soap you may also like it because it includes cast members from the past and also those who have been on other shows, plus many of the DOOL cast have also hopped around.

This is a  fun, happy read with lots of pretty pictures. Keep it on your coffee table to read during commercials. It will put a smile on your face. 

Note: At press time I am still waiting for the book publicist to get back to me, and when she does,  I hope for some insights.