Book Reviews of There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale

There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale
There and Back Again An Actor's Tale
Author: Sean Astin, Joe Layden
ISBN-13: 9780312331467
ISBN-10: 0312331460
Publication Date: 10/14/2004
Pages: 320
  • Currently 2.7/5 Stars.

2.7 stars, based on 21 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

7 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on + 301 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Can't imagine anyone writing a book that would make themselves look so small, mean and petty. Openly jealous of just about everyone, he even calls his mother's book "self-serving." The perfect guest for Maury Pauvich.
reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I don't know what I expected from this book, but I was surprised at how much Sean Astin really wanted to talk about himself & his own journey, for some reason -- even though that's exactly what the book is about! I really enjoyed reading about his interactions on the set & his personal journey & struggle with his own ego (in the Freudian sense, not the selfish one, necessarily), but I guess I had expected more of an in-depth look at the actual filming, and I'm not sure I ever got that. It seemed to be more of a superficial look at how Mr. Astin interacted with the other characters & big players. He has led an interesting life & it certainly made me appreciate the filming of the LotR films even more than I had before! So I say it's worth the read, but not necessarily what someone should look for if they want some kind of "expose" into the creation of the film. It's a much more personal book, which I did enjoy.
reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Too self-absorbed for my taste. (I guess he's an actor so what can you expect.) I was hoping for more about the making of the movie, but the first half of the book is about his petty issues with other people in the industry. DON'T CARE!
reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I didn't even finish this one. He is overly analytical and qualifies every statement he makes. He is overly critical. I suspect this book may be his undoing.
reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I had hoped for a real insider's look at the process of creating the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but to be honest, this is a pretty dull book. Astin spends far too much time talking about his directorial ambitions and not enough giving us the details of making the film.
reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on
I thought this was a pretty good memoir by Astin. A little about many movies, and his thoughts and feelings about filming LOTR. Not your typical autobiography, but still very enlightening.
reviewed There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale on + 297 more book reviews
Here we have Sean Astin's adventures as Samwise Gamgee during filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He recounts how he first heard about the audition, how he prepped for the role, the delights and difficulties of doing such a long shoot in New Zealand, and how the role changed his life going forward. Told with candor, humor, and sometimes gentle criticism, I found this book quite engaging.

This was an educational delight all around. First, I love that Sean Astin was unfamiliar with Tolkien's work prior to scheduling an audition for the role of Samwise. I found it amusing and endearing that Astin showed us his initial ignorance of The Lord of the Rings. I hope Tolkien's works opened a door to other great fantasy and science fiction works.

Prior to listening to this book, I was unaware of Astin's parentage and it's a rather convoluted one that involves his birth father's true identity, step dads, and DNA tests. Even though I have been an Astin fan since seeing Goonies when I was 12, I had not delved into Astin's personal life. This book lifts that curtain a bit and we get to know this actor for more than just his famous movies.

There's plenty of behind-the-scenes bits about filming in New Zealand, Astin's fellow actors, Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh, and his own doubts and personal victories. I was pleasantly surprised at how Astin chatted about the peculiarities and ticks of his fellow actors. Any criticism he offered was done in a gentle fashion and yet still had that center of truth to it.

I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was 13 or 14. So long before the movies came about, I knew just how important Samwise was to story. Therefore, I was a bit surprised at how Samwise, and Astin, were not considered that important to the storyline of the filming until the last movie. Logistically, it makes sense but I could sympathize with Astin's periodic frustrations with this aspect of filming.

This book also covers the lengthy daily makeup sessions, accidents and near accidents that happened on set, the vagaries of weather, and the toll such a lengthy filming can take on not just the actors, but also their families. All around, this was an eye opener. Quite an enjoyable read!

The Narration: Sean Astin did a great job with narrating his own book. I loved how he would slip into Samwise's voice at the appropriate moments. He also does a great job expressing his emotions without going over the top.