Monday, August 27, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #42 The Garner Files

I have a wee bit of a confession (I love this blog for that reason) I love James Garner. I have loved James Garner for as long as I can remember. The Rockford Files used to come on after school, right before Scooby-Doo and I would walk home really fast so I wouldn't miss it. My first memory of him is in Rockford. He's lying on the grass with some chick (I don't really care who) and he's wearing a cream-colored cable-knit sweater. At the tender age of about 7, even I knew that not every man could pull off a cream colored cable-knit sweater.

I received The Garner Files for Christmas. Chris knew I wanted least I hope he did. Every time we went to the bookstore I touched it or held it, I may have even said I wanted it...maybe. Anyway, I received it for Christmas, but I also received my Nook Tablet for Christmas--it was a miracle Christmas.

I read it a little and then, well, I read my wasn't James Garner's fault by any means. His book is filled with all the wonderfulness of the stories of a gentleman who has lived a pretty glorious and awesome life. It was me. It was the darned light up screen and ease of travel. It was the fact that I didn't want to buy the book on my Nook.

And, then something marvelous happened, in hind-sight anyway, my Nook's cord broke and while waiting for a replacement I had to go on a trip to Chicago for a conference. On the way there I read a little James, in between sessions I read a little James and the 2nd night in I finished it.

Really, it's just that good.

It's hard for me to separate James Garner from Thomas Evans, my grandfather. Garner has a no nonsense approach to living. He sued the movie industry not to make money, but because it was the right thing to do. He punches liars and cheaters. He works just as hard as he plays. He loves cars and racing and golf and the out of doors. He loves his daughters and his wife and women. He values hard-work, honesty and ownership. And, he owns a lot in this book...he isn't perfect, but he is moral.

I love that he mentions Rob Lowe in this book because I couldn't help feeling that they both have a lot in common and, just like when I read Rob's book, I couldn't help but think about how cool it would be to meet James Garner and how awesome it would be just to talk with him about pretty much anything.

In his book we see a man that truly as lived life with no regrets. Many people talk about how this book has been narrated by a gentle curmudgeon. I don't disagree, however, James Garner's no nonsense attitude about his fame, his family, and his lot in life is something to be emulated and revered.

He would hate the praise, but he'd take it.

Sidenote: Several years ago James Garner and entourage came through our town. A student met him and the conversation about it went a little something like this.

Student: "There was some old guy who came in to get a cup of coffee at the store last night, my manager says he's famous."
Me: "Oh, really what has he been in?"
Student: "I dunno some show where he was a cowboy and another where he drove this really cool car. My manager was showing me pictures. He's names like Gardner or something."
Me: "Oh my gosh! You met James Garner and you don't even understand how awesome that is!?"
Student: "What, oh, I have his autograph on a receipt...that's cool, right!?"
Me: "What did he say to you?"
Student: "He just some plain coffee."
Me: "And...?"
Student: "That's it. I don't know. He was talking to my manager."
Me: "Gah, that's so unfair!"

I'm still whining about my not getting to meet James Garner. Sad day.

Link to a pretty cool review...I must say I'm a little jealous of her fan club card.


  1. He's such a man! I loved him in the Great Escape when I first saw him, then In Victor Victoria, Support Your Local Sherrif, pretty much everything afterwards.

    1. yes, he is! and, all those movies are just wonderful. have you read this book? you would love it, then.

  2. I've been a Garner fan since the original Maverick. I was 13. I've seen all his movies, and yes, I have read that fantastic book!

    I have a fan club card too. I hope that's okay. ;)

    1. I am so jealous of your fan club card as well! :D



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