The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If for nothing else, this should be heralded for being an almost perfectly constructed autobiography.
But wait, there's more! Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight from The Office, has done a bang-up job at creating a very enjoyable read in The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy. His pacing, timing and storytelling are rock solid. Tangents and digressions are kept at reasonable lengths, are labeled as such and even apologized for, which is unnecessary because they're honestly not that long and generally have some bearing upon the topic at hand.
But here's the important thing: Rainn Wilson is interesting a.f.! His Dwight character is not that far off from reality. I kind of guessed that ahead of time, but it is absolutely fascinating to see the hows, whats, and whys behind the making this delightfully strange individual. Hell, even the wheres are intriguing! Here, I'll give you a taste: Young Rainn was raised for a time in a dirt-poor, secluded Central American former pirate town that still to this day must be approached via boat, and it's not an island! Trust me, that little tidbit is nothing compared to the cuckoo crazy times that made up this man's formative years.
Now, perhaps I'm gushing about Rainn's book, because it struck a chord with me. His tastes, his brand of humor, the fact that he played D&D and was a bit of an outsider, all these things I could relate to. So of course I'm going to enjoy this more than someone else who is his polar opposite. Let's put it like this: If you are repulsed by his Dwight personality, then just steer clear of this book. I don't know why you'd want to read it anyhow. But really, there's no point, even if you're just looking to hear a bit about The Office. Trust me, there's not enough on that topic herein to satisfy that itch and make reading this whole book worthwhile. You should be reading it for the love of Rainn!
Warning. He talks a lot about his personal religion, the Baha'i Faith. I don't know much about it, but it seems like a fairly positive umbrella religion for all the other religions, which means it will likely be attacked by all other religions out of fear that it might supplant them one day. Meh, what do I care, I don't go in for organized religion, so it's no skin off my scrotum.
Final thought: Don't read this book, listen to it! Rainn is a comedic character actor. His talents translate to vocal work. Thankfully, he's a good narrator, and specifically he reads this book with all the inflections and dramatic flair it requires. Unless you know him and his humor intimately, if you read it on your own you're going to miss many of the jokes. Whoosh, right over your head.
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