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As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling

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4.29  ·  Rating details ·  594 ratings  ·  137 reviews
In this intimate, lyrical memoir about her iconic father, Anne Serling reveals the fun-loving dad and family man behind the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week. After his unexpected, early death, Anne, just 20, was left stunned. But through talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories, Anne not ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Citadel (first published 2013)
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Rebecca McNutt
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent memoir, whether or not you're a fan of the 1950's-1960's show The Twilight Zone if you like memoirs and nostalgic books about the past, this is a great one. Most memoirs today focus on depressing topics like child abuse and crime (Running with Scissors and A Child Called "It", among others), and that type of memoir can be interesting to read in moderation, but sometimes it's nice to read a book from the lighter side of life, and this one is ultimately a memoir about the love between a ...more
Rhea
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Like most people, The Twilight Zone was a part of many stages of my life. As a child, there were episodes I loved, episodes that scared me and episodes I was too young to understand. Later Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone marathon would keep me company while on call at the hospital on holidays. When teaching courses about classic works in Social and Behavioral Sciences, I elected Rod Serling to be my teaching assistant. His insight into human nature and societal dynamics helped illustrate to my ...more
Brian Mcdonald
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the work of Rod Serling and how I respect him as a man. I can never get enough information about him and feel more connected to him than I do any other storyteller. For years now I have wanted to go see where he fought in the Philippines in World War II and to visit his hometown in Binghamton New York.

Most people think of him as the writer of the Twilight Zone, but I also read, or watch, his earlier work and admire that stuff just as much - things like
...more
Jeffrey Roberts
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There was never anyone like him.

Nobody sounded like him, nobody looked like him. And certainly nobody wrote like him. Rod Serling was a singular figure, a hugely talented visionary writer who also happened to posses such striking presence that he seemed larger than the medium in which he thrived. His resonant voice, his angular good looks, the suit & tie, the wisp of cigarette smoke served to break him free of the then mostly tiny black & white box which could not hold his veracious
...more
Daniel DeLappe
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully written book. There are other places you can go into Mr Serling's live and career. that is not the subject of this book. I guess having a daughter and being a huge Serling fan why I really loved this book. Read it. Enjoy this book and smile.
Nancy Narma
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing


“An Intimate Look Into the Life and Loves of Rod Serling”

Being a child of the Fifties, living in close proximity to his hometown of Binghamton, New York as well as being a diehard “Twilight Zone” fan, I thought I knew all there was to know about writer/producer/director,
Rod Serling. Was I ever wrong! Daughter, Anne Serling has given readers an intimate look into this multi-faceted genius of a man she is proud to call her Father. We learn of Rod’s early childhood years and the struggles of his
...more
Melanie Sloan
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly moving intensely personal
love letter from a daughter to a father . He was one of the centuries greatest writers and continues to be much beloved by his fans. We are blessed that Anne Serling has inherited her fathers talent and has written a haunting and beautifully written memoir. We can all relate to her vividly expressed sense of devastating loss and struggle for recovery. Thank you Anne for the best book this and any year.
Tricia
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking forward to reading my cousin Nan's book!
Steve Wiggins
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s difficult to say how we become who we are. Identity is a moving target, and with so many people we tend to use shorthand to understand who they are, or were. I’ve always been fascinated by the strange. Growing up in the sixties and seventies, it’s no wonder that I fell under the spell cast by The Twilight Zone. (I presume if you’re reading this review you know what The Twilight Zone is.) I can’t really define it, but since Rod Serling appeared as the host, I grew quite attached to him. As a ...more
Melanie Adkins
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Many know Rod Serling from the show The Twilight Zone but few got the chance to know him outside of that. Fun, outgoing and a terrific man is how his friends would describe him. His youngest daughter Anne, tells of a man who was tortured by memories of war. A man who was very strict about following his own moral compass. Rod Serling was a man who hated bigotry of any kind and fought for what was right always. He was known as a man who was quick to explode but also equally quick to cool his ...more
Cynthia
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You know those sayings, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" and "He's { or She's } a chip off the old block " ? Well, Anne Serling is her father's daughter....she's a story teller.
Her words are heartfelt and insightful,her writing allowed me to know the man , the father, the genius writer... Rod Serling; not just the black & white figure I watched for many years walking toward the TV screen in his tailored suit ~ cigarette in hand.
Somewhere out there, in a dimension far away but
...more
David
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This memoir penetrated my soul - and it's simply one of the loveliest tributes I've ever read.

In a relatively compact space of time - and true to the word of the book's title - Anne Serling vividly recalls her life with her father. (Interestingly, when she mentions one of his many pursuits, she uses the present tense: i.e., "My father teaches at..." - a reference to the belief that he remains with her in spirit.)

Serling took on a significant amount of research to trace what her father's
...more
Steve
Mar 10, 2015 added it
Shelves: bookreporter
The name Rod Serling immediately conjures up the black and white image of a man in a dark suit, tight-jawed, with smoke curling from a cigarette as he speaks in clipped tones about the bizarre, horrifying, wistful and remarkable adventures of a place known as “The Twilight Zone.” This travel guide to the fantastic is the Rod Serling we know. He was quite easily the most recognizable and well-known writer in Hollywood at that time, and his creative impact in those earliest years of television ...more
Nancy
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anne Serling's memoir of her father Rod is a moving and loving tribute to the man she knew as a fun companion, a sure foundation, and an adored father who died much too young.

Anne talks about her father's beloved parents and his love of family, his encountering prejudice even from his mother-in-law, and the devastating experience of war in the South Pacific that left him with nightmares. Therein are the roots of the values we discover in his Twilight Zone episodes, his nostalgic idealization of
...more
John Yingling
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was always a big fan of The Twilight Zone, and I thought Rod Serling was a first-rate writer. And now, I feel as though I know him as a man, father, friend, husband, and a concerned world citizen, thanks to this very warm, intimate memoir by his daughter. After reading this book, I wish all fathers were as caring and kind and loving towards their families as Mr. Serling was. Highly recommended, even if you have never heard of The Twilight Zone.
Carole
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who's a fan of Twilight Zone, this is must reading. I grew up on the TV series and always wondered where his ideas came from. This book shone a light on Rod Serling's mind and creativity. It also gave the reader a glimpse of the man and father behind the brilliant writing. It was clearly written by a woman who adored her father and the love between father and daughter came through. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Susan
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this lovely book. Happy to be able to say I crossed paths with this wonderful writer so many years ago, middle school classmates for a short time. Anne has captured the love and loss of her father in a magical and honest way, with images and words I will not soon forget. A must read for anyone who anyone who never tires of watching a Twilight Zone episode (as I do); an essential read for anyone with a heart in need of healing.
Dave Jones
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book about a great man, taken too soon by a girl who loved her daddy and based on your evidence, he felt the same. Anne Serling showed the same degree of writing ability as her dad which get word use. If you are a fan of Twilight Zone or Rod Serling or father-daughter relationships, this is a good use of your time.
Kevin Lucia
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievable. If you are a TWZ fan, or a Serling fan, or just getting to know his work - indispensable. Blasted this out in two days. I could say more about his work and its impact on me as a writer, but suffice to say, during the course of reading this I went out and hunted up his TWZ collections and his novella collection on Amazon and bought them. A must read for all fans.
Connie Pollock
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written book that taps into anyone's emotions when it comes to the memories of a lost parent. I loved Twilight Zone reruns as a kid, there was so much more to Rod Serling than I realized and how progressive his thinking was in writing these episodes. This book definitely a beautiful tribute to his memory.
Sdgoldman
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a long time fan of Twilight Zone, this book gave me a new perspective of Rod Serling. The book lets the reader see him through the eyes of his younger daughter. It was well-written and it makes you realize how much more he could have offered if he didn't die at the age of 50.
Bill Breedlove
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a huge fan of Rod Serling (and not only his Twilight Zone work--I will cop to even liking some of Night Gallery--as well as his unsurpassed teleplays), this book was interesting to me, as it was written by his daughter and thus offered a tantalizing "behind the scenes" glimpse at the man behind the dark suits and clipped narration.

Because it was written by his daughter, this work is full of love and has no ax to grind with its subject, which will only disappoint the folks hoping for an Andrew
...more
Jim Dooley
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Here is the book that I always wanted to be written about Rod Serling. In fact, I would strongly recommend it to people who only have a limited interest in the life of the famous writer and television personality. There are many life lessons to savor here.

Everything else I've read about Rod Serling analyzed him through his writing, interviews, and college lectures. This one is written by one of his daughters, and the insight is startling. Yes, one could argue bias in this situation, but the
...more
Petra
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I cannot rate a person's personal memories. They belong to that person and the value of the memory remains with the person.
Anne tells a heartwarming story of a beautiful childhood with a wonderfully warm father. He spent time with his children, cared about their activities & thoughts, he tried to teach them to think & to help better their world. It's truly wonderful.
She lost him at an important time (she was around 19); that's a difficult time for a girl to lose a loving father. She's
...more
Slytheringirl
This is a wonderful heartfelt look at one of TV's most recognized and beloved immortal greats. It shows that writing is definitely in the Serling blood as Ms. Serling paints a very vivid picture of a man who was so much more than what was presented to us on the tiny black and white screens of TV's golden age. She shows us a warm, loving and compassionate man who had a joy of living yet dealt with the struggles of life like the rest of us. While reading this, it was becoming more and more clear ...more
Carolyn
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable book! A father daughter relationship that was so beautiful and touching. Anne shares her father and his views with such an easy and ideal way. For a man to have only been with us for 50 years, we have many many thoughts to keep close in our lives. He spelled hope and redemption and a better way to live. He of all people made tremendous changes in the Twilight Zone. Thank goodness for passion and heart and the ability to write about it. Such a terrific homage to a lovely man! It is my ...more
Robbie Shofner
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book is a winner on many levels. it is well-researched and scholarly when it discusses Rod Serling's youth, but also provides a first-hand account of what Rod was like in his private moments. Throughout the book, Anne Serling slowly builds a sense of what a great father Rod was, so that by the time she addresses his passing, the reader is stunned not by what the television world lost when Rod died, but more by what his family lost when such a lovable father died at a young age. This ...more
Dave
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tv, memoirs
Moving and poignant. A sweet, very personal account of the Rod Serling we never saw on camera through the eyes of his loving daughter. Their relationship is so close and so well expressed here, I felt like part of the family. I laughed at his playfulness, was proud as he stood for his convictions and winced in pain at his addiction to cigarettes. Being able to see the human side of Rod after only seeing and admiring him through his work was a real treat. I delighted at Anne's glee in the ...more
Pat
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rod Serling's youngest daughter shares her relationship with her father; and the devastating loss when he dies at the age of 50. Really two books in one; the reader glimpses the life of Serling; what and who influenced him; how they affect his writing; the back story to some of the most memorable Twilight Zone episodes. But, the book is also about a daughter's grief journey; the profoundly shattered life that she tries to live after her Dad is gone; and how she eventually begins to heal.
Susan Ambrosia
If you thought you knew Rod Serling, think again. His daughter presents a fun-loving, warm-hearted man, entirely unlike his "Twilight Zone" persona. Great read, very touching, a loving memoir and bio.
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Anne is the author of AS I KNEW HIM: My Dad Rod Serling.

Excerpts of this memoir have appeared in Salon and NPR'S Snap Judgement.

Anne is currently writing a novel: AFTERSHOCKS
“The gifts and the lessons my father left me will last forever: Never take yourself too seriously, never miss a chance to laugh long and hard, speak out about political and social issues you believe in, use the written word as often as you can to make yourself and the world a better place, and love your children with all you've got.
My dad's death had a seismic effect on me but so did his life.”
12 likes
“On a deeper level, the film [Seven Days in May] displays several themes that are important to my father throughout his career. Prime among these is not succumbing to fear born of ignorance. In the nuclear age, he seems to be telling us, we can't throw up our hands in helplessness over the enormity of the problem. With the stakes as dire as they are, we must all work positively to change things for the better. I think that is why he believes so firmly in the idea of the United Nations. As in 'Twilight Zone's' "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", my dad is warning us that the greatest threat we face is if a potential enemy uses our fears to get us to start destroying ourselves.” 9 likes
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