Review: Every Other Weekend: Coming of Age with Two Different Dads
By Nadia Bruce-Rawlings
Anthony J. Mohr writes a lovely memoir of growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s in Hollywood. In Every Other Weekend: Coming of Age with Two Different Dads, his father, a radio star who later becomes a B-movie actor, divorces his mother for another woman. His mother remarries a successful, wealthy business man who couldn’t be more different from his father. Mr. Mohr tells of growing up with these contrasting lives - battling poverty with lots of love in one household, while the other is rich but emotionally vacant. Along the way there is plenty of name dropping of the stars his father hung out with. His stepfather ultimately sells his company to Howard Hughes, and they are set for life. In the meantime, his father’s career is failing miserably. Mohr does a fine job of contrasting the two lives he lived.
The problem is that I’m not sure I cared. While the book is very well written, it’s just a little boring. It has excellent reviews, so perhaps it’s just too grown-up for me? The stepfather is kind of an ass, and a couple of times he veers towards abuse, but not enough to make it very unique. Simply a normal family. I wish mine had been so mundane. His real father is a bit clueless but sweet and kind, and the stepmother is kind to him as well, if a bit vacant. Tony (as Mohr is known) has fairly normal teen years, except that in the ‘50s divorce was definitely scandalous.
The historical details are fascinating - the transition from radio to television, the McCarthy era issues, etc are all very interesting to read. And Mohr’s contrasting thoughts of a child and then looking back as an adult writing the book are a nice touch as well. As I said, Every Other Weekend is a well written memoir. It’s just not that exciting. I think I’m spoiled by the books I review for A THIN SLICE OF ANXIETY - we get some really creative, obscure work. This book seemed so normal and grown-up. If you’re interested in the era, give it a look for sure, but otherwise I can’t really recommend it.