Cover image for The F word : how to survive your family
The F word : how to survive your family
Anderson, Louie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xv, 202 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
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HV5132 .A5315 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In his alternately hilarious and poignant new book, author/comedian Louie Anderson--who penned the bestselling Dear Dad--reminds readers that they can't change, but they can learn to cope with their families. 24 photos.

Author Notes

Louie Anderson recently hosted the popular TV game show Family Feud. His animated show Life with Louie -- based on his childhood experiences -- won two Emmy awards
Carl Kurlander is a screenwriter, TV writer/producer, and currently a visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Following his best-selling Dear Dad (1989), comedian Anderson continues to wax funny-serious about his family (which is the F word he refers to in his title). Although admitting that "some of us have a better chance of defeating Tiger Woods at the Masters than fixing our families," Anderson nevertheless shares the wisdom about families that he's gained over his nearly 50 years of life--and he has an incredibly large family to have gained experience from. His 49 tips for getting along in family situations are woven into an autobiographical and completely honest narrative about his relations with his parents and his siblings. Tip 33 directs us to remember that parents are only human--they don't know everything. Tip 36 asks us to look at the friends we have and notice how they reflect one's own family. Ultimately, of course, we cannot fix our families, and Anderson leaves us with the good word that he no longer needs to try, and neither do we. Nothing revolutionary here; just good, common, supportive sense. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the realm of celebrity advice books, comedian and game show host Anderson's follow-up to Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child falls squarely in the middle of the scale of originality and usefulness: there's nothing particularly remarkable or cutting-edge about it, but it does offer a few pearls of wisdom on surviving dysfunctional blood relationships. The friendly analysis of family dynamics is too scrambled to be a true how-to volume; instead, it features an assortment of short essays on Anderson's tumultuous family life, interspersed with a collection of some 50 tips on surviving family interactions and pieces from his comedy routines. As Anderson focuses entirely on his own experiences, he ends up attempting to spin very specific elements (such as the impact of his fame and wealth on his 10 siblings) into general principles-somewhat of a difficult task. While he has not written the definitive guide to family harmony, Anderson has created an entertaining and heartfelt portfolio of personal advice that manages to sustain an easy, good humored feel despite its often painful subject matter. (Sept. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Fatal Mistake (almost) I'm in Vegas in the house where I've come to live for a year, escaping Los Angeles. It's not lost on me that this is where Nick Cage's character in Leaving Las Vegas comes after being sick of L.A., and when he is drinking too much. Ultimately, the movie makes clear that, for the Cage character, "leaving Las Vegas" means never leaving at all. It's a Thursday and I'm about to start a two-week stint headlining at Bally's casino. I don't think I can get through it. Even if I do, the money I make will just go to pay government back taxes. I've pissed away so much money-by purchasing crap, hiring too many employees, and gambling-that I'm now $500,000 in debt. If that's not enough, I'm being blackmailed by someone who's threatening to undermine my career. The world seems like a cruel place. I own a .38-caliber nickel-plated Smith and Wesson that on this particular day is loaded. I used to do a routine in my act about how I came to buy the gun in Wyoming when I was shooting a movie. I bought it just because it was easy to buy a gun in Wyoming. I'd never even thought about getting one, but was intrigued by the idea of owning a gun just like James Bond's. When the gun turned out to be the same price as what the filmmakers were paying me as a daily allowance, I bought it. Complete with matching bullets. But this is no routine. I'm holding the gun in my hand. No one is home and I turn the TV to a music station and crank it up loud so the gun's sound will be muffled. I sit next to the blaring speakers and pray for a reason to continue with my screwed-up life. I search for something positive, anything . The "poor me" part of myself has a firm hold and isn't willing to let go. I cock the gun, pull back the trigger, and rather than see my life flashing before me, I remember something I once saw on a TV special. It was a law enforcement person saying that, contrary to movie depictions of someone putting a gun to his head and efficiently ending his life, many times the person will survive but end up paralyzed or brain damaged. The expert helpfully pointed out where one should place a gun to achieve certain death. With the weapon all set, I say my prayers and ask for forgiveness for what I'm about to do. Except I must first wait for a good, loud heavy-metal song. You don't want to die on a bad song. Back when I drove a lot to gigs, I used to think how terrible it would be to die in a car accident with some annoying song on the radio. Phil Collins's "Sussudio" or the Starlight Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" or Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It." You don't want any of those to be the last thing you hear in life. I sit against the wall and have a strange thought about the mess this is going to make. (My mother raised me well.) So I get up and fetch a towel to drape over my head. Finally, I'm all set and I cock the gun again, place it in the right spot, put my heavy thumb on the trigger and almost on cue, the right song comes on. Just as I put pressure on the trigger, the song volume lowers for a chorus and I have time to think about who'll find me dead. A couple people come to mind. This will really hurt them , I think. But I'm too full of sadness and self-pity. I never wanted to hurt anyone, but I have to do this. Am I a coward or what? At that moment, there's a knock at my door. Damn ... my assistant and manager have been out playing golf. I yell out "Who is it?" throw the towel off, and uncock the gun, slipping it under my pillow. Unlocking the door, I discover my longtime friend and manager Jim. "Hey, Lou, it's almost time for the show. You ready?" "Yeah, I lost track of time. I'll be right out." I guess even when you're about to off yourself, the show must go on. Looking back on it, there's nothing more surreal than the feeling of doing comedy minutes after you're sure you're going to be dead. Before I walk out on stage, I say a little prayer: God, please give me a sign that you want me to stay on this earth. Do it during this show, otherwise I see no reason why afterward I shouldn't finish what I started. The crowd for this performance is great and all is going well comedy-wise when suddenly I'm no longer in my body, but am looking at myself performing. I can't hear anything, but I can see myself doing my act. And when I look out at the audience they're laughing and having a good time. As soon as I notice this, their movements slow to a crawl, as if I'm watching the scene in slow motion. They rock back and forth, laughing hard. Then, all at once, I'm back, not sure what just happened. I smile to myself and thank God. I've had my sign. You see, when I saw those people laughing in slow motion, I knew that, for those few minutes, they were free of anything and everything that was bothering them. And I knew that not only my purpose but my gift was to continue doing comedy as long as I could. In some ways, the audience has become my family-the perfect family we can all live with. They come for an hour, laugh at everything I say, give me money and love, applaud and go home. Of course, that's a fantasy family. And though the love of an audience is real, I know that at the end of the day I still have to deal with my real family. You didn't really think I was going to kill myself, did you? Of course not-I wrote this book. We all have dark times. How well we cope with them is a measure of who we are and how well we've come to accept things. Sometimes I wonder if suicide is a failure of family. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that a victim's family has necessarily done something wrong. But to take your own life, you have to feel very little connection to the world. You wonder why people in their bleakest moments don't reach out to their families. Maybe because they've learned that their loved ones can't handle the truth about what went on in their lives. Or maybe they're so mad at their relatives they're not going to share themselves and get hurt again. Perhaps somewhere down the line, they were taught hopelessness. I've heard stories about families where the parents killed themselves and, years later, one of the kids did too. Maybe that was their way of connecting to their parents. Whatever suicide's underlying factors are, I didn't go through with it. Maybe in some subtle way that I didn't recognize at the time I was taught that we Andersons are survivors. I realize that most people don't have such a desperate reaction to their families. But many people-even from good, stable homes-sometimes have dark thoughts that surprise even them. A few years have passed since the Las Vegas incident and I'm in a much different place now. It's taken me a long time to accept myself and my family. I've learned there are no simple solutions. Not that I'm lovey-dovey with them all the time. But the Vegas close call put me on a new path. It made me want to come to terms with who I am and where I come from, and to be okay with that. And that journey inevitably leads back to family. Somewhere deep down I knew that if I were to save myself, I needed to make peace with the people I grew up with, and the events we all experienced. (Continues...) Excerpted from The F Word by Louie Anderson and Carl Kurlander Copyright © 2002 by Louie Anderson Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

The F Wordp. xiii
Fatal Mistakep. 1
Forty-nine Family Survival Tipsp. 6
Family Matrixp. 9
Family Reunionp. 16
Family I.Q.p. 26
Family Morning Ritualsp. 35
Family Historyp. 37
Fossilsp. 41
Finding Each Otherp. 44
Family Soupp. 47
Family Genesp. 52
Family Environmentp. 56
Family Placementp. 59
Family Storagep. 61
Family Gamesp. 65
Family Shoppingp. 69
Family Feud #1p. 71
Family Feud #2p. 75
Fraternalp. 78
Fantasy Familyp. 87
Family-ismsp. 91
Family ABCsp. 93
Fact. Fiction. Fantasyp. 97
Friends as Familyp. 105
Family In-Lawsp. 111
Family Financesp. 117
Family Luckp. 125
Famep. 128
Free Billy the Kidp. 142
Family Escapesp. 149
Family Humorp. 151
Functional Familiesp. 154
Family Directionsp. 158
Family Petsp. 162
Fan Mailp. 164
Family Lost and Foundp. 167
Family Pictures/Family Evidencep. 171
Family Vacationsp. 173
Family Holidaysp. 179
Family Cell-a-brationsp. 191
Family Hangoverp. 201
Forgivenessp. 203