Books: What Do You Hear from Walden Pond? by Jack Douglas

This is a book I picked up years and years ago in a second-hand bookstore. Those places are filled with such treasures, books one would never have found, never have heard of. I'd never heard of Jack Douglas before finding this book, though according to the flyleaf he'd written several other books besides. But this one is from 1971, which is before I was born, and so Douglas clearly belongs to an earlier generation than mine.

Doesn't stop my enjoyment of him, though.

What Do You Hear from Walden Pond? is for people who enjoy the likes of, say, Dave Barry. It's slice-of-life humor in which Douglas writes about moving his family from Ontario to Los Angeles after he gets tapped to help write a screenplay. Hilarity ensues as Douglas, his Japanese wife, their sons, two dogs, a wolf, and a mountain lion navigate the Hollywood system. (And trust me, even with the menagerie, Douglas is still more sane than the studio execs.)

Sample text:

"How would you like to go to California?" I said.
"You mean Disneyland?" Bobby said.
"I guess I do," I said. "But they used to call it California."

Okay, so maybe I like this book because I'm a screenwriter. (I'm allowed to say that for real now that I've won an award.) But even before I'd written my first script, or even read anything by Dave Barry, I liked this book, which I discovered when I was in junior high. I take it off my shelf every few years and re-read it, usually over the summer; it's good, light-hearted fare for that time of year. And so now, as the weather out here on the West Coast is warming, and as I've been tapped to write a script of my own, I'm thinking about giving Douglas my attention once more.

And one day I'll maybe even go find some of his other books, too.

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