Cosby’s memoir falls flat

Mark Lewis and Mark Lewis

Every single time I mention the name “Bill Cosby” to an acquaintance or close friend – I get these ridiculously bad impressions of them channeling Cosby saying “J-E-L-L-O” or “JELLO pudding pops” I’m absolutely convinced that these responses are hard-wired into the brains of every single twenty-something I’ve ever encountered.

Dr. Cosby released his latest book “I Didn’t Ask To Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)” on Nov. 1, 2011 – three days after I attended what I surmised to be his last comedy routine at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The “’#1 New York Times Bestselling Author’” of “Cosbyology” and numerous other books spanning his five decades as a mass media virtuoso has written a book for the ADHD-generation.

Consider some of the chapter titles featured in the 198 page book – “’Message to the Groom,’” “’If Only Native Americans Knew Then What They Know Now,’” “’Erectile Dysfunction,’” “’Children Aren’t You’re Friends’” and “’Cabbage Patch.’”

As an admirer of Cosby’s career – my intuition is to write a review praising Cosby’s collection of anecdotes and recommend you download it to your Kindle immediately but I just can’t.

The book’s back cover features an illustration of a man reading a book (presumably Cosby’s) while laughing so hysterically that his glasses have flown off of him and he is elevated two feet above the chair he was seated in. “’It is funny. It is humorous. And it is healthy.’” The quote is attributed to Cosby and after reading the sparse non-fiction novel – I have to disagree with his assessment of his own work.

“I Didn’t Ask To Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)” is a scattered assemblage of Cosby’s anecdotes that flow about as well as a shower head would if the water was turned-off.

The book’s relevance was a constant problem for me as I turned the pages. His extensive position on Cabbage Patch dolls and their degradation of society is awkwardly outdated. Concerning his stories involving grandchildren and his wife – I can understand their inclusion. A basic principle of writing is “You write what you know!”

For the 74-year-old Cosby – knowledge is not nor never has been the issue. Dr. Cosby is a genuine living legend of a brand of comedy that he himself created.  Unfortunately, the comedic wit and cynicism that accompany his live performances simply doesn’t translate into the written word.

Bill Cosby’s “I Didn’t Ask To Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)”

My final verdict: Loved it? Loathed it? Missed the Mark? – Missed the Mark!

[email protected]