The Bassoon Kin: My Life in Faith, Art, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson (5 out of 5)


I was on Twitter one Tuesday about two months ago and got into a discussion with some lovely person at Dutton Books about Rainn Wilson. I asked about when the book was coming out and asked if I could get an advance of it for the blog. The lovely person (again, Twitter is often a nameless social media forum in company form) got my details. And then nothing happened. A couple of weeks later, a gentleman came in inquiring about it. I went to look it up on Ipage and our outdated browser went down, and I had no idea of a release date. I hopped on Twitter and sent a PM to Dutton asking when the book was coming out again, and got an answer for the customer. SEE? Social media- when it’s connected to your job? Can be a helpful tool. Then they reiterated they were sending it out to me. Days later, there it was. Then it went into the pile on the coffee table. Those are “immediate” books. There’s a pile of books like that on the table in the bedroom, but those are mostly “second best” titles. I don’t spend a lot of time reading or doing anything else in that bedroom BESIDES sleeping, so the right away pile is in full view of all who enter my home. That pile has gotten ridiculously higher the past two weeks. I spent all last week- one of the busiest I’ve had this year- reading my way through Rainn’s book. It is in NO WAY boring. I spent a bunch of the time laughing my ass off. It was like watching him in the Office or Super all over again. I just couldn’t get more than a minute of two or free time to read. Yesterday, I plowed through 45 pages, then kept going. Until I finally reached the end. Nothing “beets” this book (if you have no idea why I say that, obviously, you’re NOT a Dwight K. Schrute fan and should quit reading this now).

Rainn Wilson did not have a conventional upbringing. His parents divorced young, and his hippie mom took off to parts unknown, leaving his father, who is a jack-of-all-trades careerman (science fiction author, painter, plumbing accountsman) to raise him. His father meets and marries another lady, Kristin, rather quickly. They take young Rainn to the strangest of destinations (Nicaragua!), and that chapter is one of the funniest in the book. Rainn’s college years are quite a story, including a number of bad jobs (another chapter) and the realization that theater is the answer for him. Those years are quite eye-opening and also funny. You realize quickly from reading his memories of the theater community and the years and productions he spent in and doing, that Rainn has true passion for the theater. This leads to his decision that Hollyweird may be the answer for his next move- acting. He muddles along, and finds that next step not as easy as one would hope. In the meantime, he finds drugs and alcohol his distraction-until he finds love. He meets his eventual wife and realizes he has all he needs- well, except for that coveted job. After dogged determination and many funny asides, he begins getting roles that get him noticed- most specifically, Six Feet Under, which leads to an audition for “The Office” as the “Universal Soldier” of Dunder Mifflin (by the way, that’s my take on Dwight K. Schrute, not Rainn’s). The stories of the behind-the-scenes at “The Office” as well as the happy familial vibes from his time on “The Office” are hilarious and heartwarming. Equally heartwarming is Rainn’s story of his and Holiday’s “miracle baby”, Walter, whom they almost lost at childbirth.  Their love story (the volcano wedding is FABULOUS. What a great idea! If I ever do say “I do”, I’m going to have to do something truly wild and original like these two did) and their triumph over almost losing their son, will make you tear up. I’m not a crier, and it got to me! Rainn’s career after the office? Several movies that have made a dent, several that haven’t, and “Backstrom”, a FOX vehicle that had all the right moves, but didn’t checkmate beyond a few episodes. But most importantly, the genesis of SoulPancake, his website with his friend (In case you want to check it out, that tackles the most important issues in life…all leading up to and including that elusive emotion, happiness. All in all, Rainn has had an amazing life so far. Some of it hasn’t been so great, some has been truly amazing, and some has been downright inspiring, but it’s his life, on his terms, and you can’t help but walk away from this with a new appreciation for the life of you own that you’re living. And don’t forget- you’ll laugh your ass off as well. Win all around!

The Bassoon King is out now, available thanks to our friends at Dutton. Thanks to the person behind the Dutton Twitter account who sent me the advance. It was as awesome as you promised!

~ by generationgbooks on November 30, 2015.

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