Who hated compare and contrast assignments in high school English class? Not me! After the initial angst over the enormity of the task (how will I do this assignment justice and remember to include all I need to say?), I dug in and things eventually took on a life of their own.

Nerd Alert!

Now I am doin' it just for fun, just because I like the way it adds another layer of critical thought and maybe even deeper contemplation to the story.

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One is a tributary memoir (As I Knew Him My Dad, Rod Serling) and the other a truth telling autobiography (Born to Run) both are a beautiful testament to who these two men are and were in life. Their body of work is mind boggling and their contributions to the world at large cannot be overstated or denied. I truly love them both. One book written by the daughter who so loved her father and one written by the man himself, there is so much to love about these books. These were two men greatly loved by friends and family alike. They suffered their own kind of prejudices and discriminations and rose above to become the great artists they are/were. Two prolific writers, each utilizing their talents in different ways, there is more to compare about Serling and Springsteen than to contrast.

As I Knew Him My Dad, Rod Serling by Anne Serling

This book is a love letter from Anne Serling to her father Rod, the same man whom I call my hero. He is also my answer to the question who would you most like to be seated next to at that fantasy dinner party, dead or alive.

The opportunity to observe the man from the perspective of his own child is a true gift. Serling’s teachings, talent, and integrity shine through as we are taken on a tour of his early childhood, his military tour of duty, his days at university, his marriage and his role as a father. He is just as I thought he would be from his daughter’s perspective. Serling talks about her father’s struggle with creative control over the content of his work, censorship as it pertained to television, and his mounting frustrations as a writer. He was in constant search of meaning right up until the end. His daughter also recounts her difficulties with the profound loss of her father, a man who she very poignantly communicates, was small of physical stature but ironically larger than life.

If you love Rod Serling, his work, and all the wondrous and wonderful episodes of what is in my opinion, the greatest television series to ever grace the airwaves, I cannot recommend this book enough. Thank you Anne Serling for sharing this wonderful story with all of us.

Title: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

This for me, is one of those rare books that I feel almost intimidated to review. I have been a Springsteen fan since high school, a very long time ago. I was not however a die-hard fan, one who collected attended shows like notches on a belt but rather one who has her own very fond, indelibly etched, and unique memories of what this man’s music has meant to me.

Reading Springsteen’s story is like a continuation of that love and admiration. It brought those old memories back again in the best possible way. Now that I have read it, I can’t imagine his not having wrote it. It seems a natural extension of a body of work that as impacted so many in such a profound way. It took Springsteen seven years to complete this book and I cannot think of a better legacy and tribute to those he loves and honors, including his fans.

Springsteen gives us to honest to goodness, real and raw look into the man undergoing each stage of his life. Each chapter is its own separate story. His willingness to tell the truth, even the ugly parts make everything strangely beautiful. His courage and generosity cannot be denied.

I don’t care if you aren’t a Springsteen fan, please read this book because this is an example of a life fully lived, one that has been beaten and kicked around yet still stands strong, perhaps even stronger because of it. Legendary and full of beauty and pain, this story will stand the test of time.