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Review: A warm, loving family nurtured the Howard brothers

Review: A warm, loving family nurtured the Howard brothers

Review: A warm, loving family nurtured the Howard brothers

Editor’s Note: This week Jacquie O’Neil, mother of Times Leader Publisher Kerry Miscavage, reviews “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family,” By Ron Howard and Clint Howard. Look for a review by Miscavage next week.

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“The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family”

By Ron Howard and Clint Howard

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If you can whistle, or even hum, the theme song from The Andy Griffith Show from the 60s, and maybe sing a few bars from Happy Days, a show in the 70s, this book by brothers Ron and Clint Howard is a must read. They have written a warm, loving memoir paying tribute to their parents for guiding them through the Hollywood scene as child actors. This book is currently listed #4 on the New York Times best seller list for non-fiction.

We are all too familiar with the sad stories surrounding many child actors. This is a refreshing story about how the boys’ parents from the Midwest set aside their own dreams of acting to provide Ron and Clint with the teaching, protection, and work ethic necessary to deal with the setbacks that are a part of the TV and film industry.

This book is written in an informal conversational style between Ron and Clint, making it more personal. They share some tricks of the trade as well as some humorous antidotes of other well-known actors.

Maintaining a balance between work and having a normal childhood was important to the Howards. Both boys were able to attend public schools and participate in competitive sports. Money was never a priority. Their earnings were wisely kept in trust funds until they became 18.

Ron knew from a young age that he wanted to direct films and he stayed focused on that goal. Clint earned respect as a character actor as his career progressed. Some of their happiest memories were when the family acted together. When their dad was their guardian on set, he was frequently given small roles to play. Later, their mother got involved too.

I highly recommend this book. It isn’t just a book about Hollywood, but a story about a close-knit family that believed in love, honesty, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Ron and Clint’s parents ran off to NY and then California to achieve their own acting dreams before they had children. Over time, their down-to-earth parenting and devotion to their sons’ careers not only navigated Ron and Clint through the ups and downs of being child actors but led them to the success they have today.

With candor and humor this book answers the big question of what it was like growing up on television in the 60s and 70s.

But how was the Howard family different than other acting families? What do you think was the most significant factor that provided stability in their lives? Do you think Ron and Clint’s mother ever experienced depression or disappointment about her life? Would you sacrifice your career dreams to help your children achieve theirs?

Amazon offers the hardcover for $18.84 and Kindle for $14.99. Barnes and Noble offers the hardcover for $22.99 and the Nook for $14.99

Jacquie O’Neil is the mother of Kerry Miscavage, publisher of the Times Leader Media Group. She and her daughter share the duties of writing the About Books column.

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