2.27.2017

Review of "Leonard" - A Biography of Leonard Nimoy

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man
by William Shatner 

Published by Thomas Dunne Books (February 16, 2016)

This was well done. It's as much a memoir by Bill Shatner as it is a remembrance of Leonard Nimoy, but the story telling fits and reveals quite a bit about Nimoy's career and his many and diverse avocations. The book pulls back the curtain on the golden age of television as well and how actors scrambled from job to job simply trying to make ends meet. Nimoy struggled for 17 years in Hollywood (never working in a project for more than two weeks!) before landing his first recurring role as Spock. He then spent the rest of his career alternately running from and embracing that identity.

Very interesting relational history as well between these two icons. Most of us know of their - at times - turbulent friendship, but their deep, deep love for each other isn't as well known or publicized, I don't think. I was struck, though, by an apparent crumbling of their friendship which occurred about two years before Nimoy's death and, much to Shatner's disappointment and regret, never found resolution.

Shatner writes (page 268/269): "Essentially, he stopped speaking to me....It was very painful to me. As I'd never had a friend like Leonard before, I'd obviously never been in a situation like this, and I had no idea what to do about it. If I knew the reason Leonard stopped talking to me, not only would I admit it, I would have taken steps to heal those wounds. If I had done something wrong, if I had said something that was perhaps misunderstood, I would want to know it so I might make amends. But none of that took place. I have no idea what happened....I was mystified. It was baffling to me. I kept asking people, 'What happened?' But no one could give me an answer. It remains a mystery to me, and it is heartbreaking, heartbreaking. It is something I will wonder about, and regret, forever."

I include this snippet not only because it is a great sampling of the heartfelt remembrances that characterize this book, but also because it is a poignant reminder that life is often like that. I've had friendships crumble and can't for the life of me figure out why. I've reached out, I've tried making amends, but for whatever reason people in my life who were once good friends have left me behind. I would gladly renew those relationships - as I think most of us would - but something is preventing it. A misunderstanding, a perceived slight, a misspoken word. Would that these relational potholes could be patched. But like Shatner, after doing my part to heal the brokenness and not finding any reciprocity, I'm left wondering and with feelings of regret.

Still, Shatner provides a wonderful picture of a dear friend, and hopefully, that be what readers and fans will remember, celebrate, and identify with most. Highly recommended for Star Trek fans or anyone interested in film and television and authentic celebrity friendships.