Sam’s Hams (Book Thoughts: Ham – Slices Of A Life, Sam Harris)

17571596I liked Sam Harris voice enough to have all his CDs – even the rare ones fromhis Motown years. I have also seen him on Broadway in “Grease,” and liked him especially in “The Life.” So I was looking forward to reading his book “Ham – Slices Of A Life,” which is not technically a memoir but more “essays and stories.” They are numbered writings on some of his life experiences. Harris’ first rise to fame was from being a Grand Champion on “Star Search” from the 80s, and I do remember him from that show, which was a precursor to this generation’s “American Idol.” These stories are unstructured but it doesn’t matter – they are hilarious, touching, and you get a peek at his heart. I was hooked from the first page and spent a good part of my Saturday morning finishing the book. It’s also juicy but not mean – you get a glimpse of his close friendship with Liza Minnelli, and his unfortunate brush with Aretha Franklin. I had hoped he would write about Liza, and he paints her in such a glowing light that’s not fawning. He talks about some of his experience as a child in Oklahoma, and I could say I can relate to a lot of them: growing up gay and finding a place in the world. This is quite an enjoyable book, and has a lot of poignant moments.

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