Sam I Am

Ham (NetGalley)
Sam Harris

I never meant to read this book. Quite frankly,when I was choosing books for my e-Reader I saw the cover, my eyes glanced over “David Sedaris” in the first line of the blurb–and thought I was getting an ARC of Sedaris’s newest. So when I opened the book on my Kindle and saw author “Sam Harris”, I was like,

“Who the heck is Sam Harris?!” But now I know and Mr. Harris had me from at least Chapter 3 when he dished out what I first thought was some delicious celebrity gossip–and later realized was an endearing snapshot of his long friendship with Liza with a Z. And by the end of this memoir, he had me in tears.

Sam Harris won Star Search in 1984 with his beautiful rendition of “Over the Rainbow.” (I only know because I had to look it up (link) on the Google.) In his memoir Ham, Harris recounts the fits and starts of his career, his upbringing in Oklahoma, his life as a gay man, and (most tenderly) his love for husband Danny Jacobson and their son Cooper. Harris was especially transparent about his distant relationship with his father and his recovery from alcohol addiction–and I always thought his honesty was without guile.

To be fair to myself, Harris is known predominantly for his Broadway roles and I’ve never set a foot on Broadway, and his appearances on television variety and talk shows in the nineties with which I also have little familiarity. (In a funny aside, when I first searched for Sam Harris after that “who-the-heck” moment, I went to this link; wrong guy–definitely, the wrong guy!) Here’s one of my favorite (yes, I have a favorite already after only just “meeting” him!) of his songs (link) from the rock opera Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

This memoir was told with such sardonic wit and sweet tenderness I’ll remember it Sam Harris for quite some time.

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