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A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George

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Truly the voice of a generation, George Carlin gave the world some of the most hysterical and iconic comedy routines of the last fifty years. From the "Seven Dirty Words" to "A Place for My Stuff," to "Religion is Bullshit," he perfected the art of making audiences double over with laughter while simultaneously making people wake up to the realities (and insanities) of life in the twentieth century.

Few people glimpsed the inner life of this beloved comedian, but his only child, Kelly, was there to see it all. Born at the very beginning of his decades-long career in comedy, she slid around the "old Dodge Dart," as he and wife Brenda drove around the country to "hell gigs." She witnessed his transformation in the '70s, as he fought back against---and talked back to---the establishment; she even talked him down from a really bad acid trip a time or two ("Kelly, the sun has exploded and we have eight, no-seven and a half minutes to live!").

Kelly not only watched her father constantly reinvent himself and his comedy, but also had a front row seat to the roller coaster turmoil of her family's inner life---alcoholism, cocaine addiction, life-threatening health scares, and a crushing debt to the IRS. But having been the only "adult" in her family prepared her little for the task of her own adulthood. All the while, Kelly sought to define her own voice as she separated from the shadow of her father's genius.

With rich humor and deep insight, Kelly Carlin pulls back the curtain on what it was like to grow up as the daughter of one of the most recognizable comedians of our time, and become a woman in her own right. This vivid, hilarious, heartbreaking story is at once singular and universal-it is a contemplation of what it takes to move beyond the legacy of childhood, and forge a life of your own.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2015

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About the author

Kelly Carlin

1 book255 followers
KELLY CARLIN was born in Ohio in 1963. She received her Master's Degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She presently tours her critically acclaimed solo show, "A Carlin Home Companion," hosts two radio shows--The Kelly Carlin Show on SiriusXM and Waking from the American Dream on SModcast Network, and blogs for the Huffington Post. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob McCall and their Jack Russell Terrier, Stella.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 174 reviews
Profile Image for Dachokie.
346 reviews19 followers
August 24, 2015
Sometimes, Things are Better Left Unsaid …

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free copy of the book.

Yeah, I was a George Carlin fan. I became a hit in my dorm as a freshman when I brought a cassette recording of “Carlin at Carnegie” and peppering “Carlinisms” into conversations became a staple that entire school year. In addition to owning his books, I consider seeing him live in 1996 as an entertainment milestone in my life (along with seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King). I vaguely knew Carlin had a wife, daughter and several dogs, but he seemed to spare/protect them from being a source of his comedy (save the dogs, of course) … the jokes were always on/about us “regular” people. With A CARLIN HOME COMPANION, daughter Kelly Carlin (McCall) spills the beans on the mess we didn’t know existed when her dad stepped off stage. While I can still look back and enjoy Carlin’s comedic take on most everything, I could have done without the TMI-tales his daughter felt compelled to share and wondered why such a book was even necessary.

Kelly Carlin is the daughter of a celebrity and apparently that, in and of itself, warrants writing a book … about herself. A CARLIN HOME COMPANION is simply an autobiography from a relatively unknown offspring of a celebrity … a self-aggrandizing adventure that tells us things about the deceased comedian we probably didn’t need to know and things about his daughter we really don’t want to know. Although I didn’t enjoy the book’s premise, Carlin’s story is an easy, fast read and, at times, the spirit of her father manages to surface in her writing … just not enough to validate the book itself.

What is wrong with this book? Nothing, if you enjoy reading about the angst and neediness exhibited by the only-child of a celebrity … from birth to middle-age. The first few chapters provide a rather benign view of the early stages of the Carlin family (referred to as the “Three Musketeers”); a struggling comedian trying to provide for his family. Shortly, thereafter, readers are taken on a fast ride that includes a history of substance-abuse, three aborted pregnancies before the author’s 16th birthday and endless pages of emotional/dependency issues of one sort or another. Father George traipsed around American forming a comedic brand that mocked the stupidity of the average citizen and returns home to get hammered/stoned with his wife in full view of his daughter. Even though Kelly Carlin may never have intended to blame the misery in her life on her mother and father’s actions, one can read between the lines and figure that one out. The fact that she exposes this information isn’t bad in and of itself, but the vain attempt to make a positive out of all the negativity comes across as both vain and superficial. When her mother dies, Kelly shares a tender, symbolic moment when her father points to the “Gemini” constellation and how it signified the closeness that she and her mother shared being “Geminis” (even though her mother was born on a day that would have made her a “Taurus”). A single, insignificant oversight, or simply one of many feigned attempts to garner empathy/sympathy? Most of the book consists of the author dealing with one issue after another that seems tied to the trauma her parents exposed her to as a child, yet much of her book is spent redeeming their actions in every way (Hippy-love). Countless instances of cringe-worthy neediness and “why me?” situations that become tiresome to read about … especially when some of these situations occur when the author is in her forties.

The book may come across as cathartic in some ways, but Carlin also paints herself as someone who enjoyed and expected all the trappings associated with her famous father … a chronic name-dropper. The fact that the author is the “daughter of George Carlin” is presented as a point of privilege throughout the book and it wears thin. She even expresses here disdain about an airline employee who was clueless when she dropped the “do you know who my father is?” line when not receiving (expected?) preferential treatment (“the one human being over the age of forty in the United States who has no idea who my dad is? F’ing Hawaiians”). It was at this point that I finally asked myself … why? Why do I need to read about the life of the deceased funny-man’s daughter? I actually would have preferred it if she simply would have provided a biography of her father … warts and all. Instead, we get HER story with bits and pieces of his life along the way.

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION didn’t generate the reaction I was expecting as it certainly took some of the veneer off of George Carlin for me. Sure, I understand that everyone is flawed in one way or another, but divulging this information almost a decade after his death is rather unnecessary. I find it ironic that the gradual disgust, anger and disdain he displayed in the later years of his comedy act was not only palpable, but rather hypocritical … no matter how much his daughter tries to tell us otherwise.

Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,462 reviews9 followers
November 19, 2016
Having seen George Carlin perform at a theatre in the round back in the 70s, I was always a big fan. I remember leaving the show with extremely sore muscles in my cheeks from smiling and laughing so much. My brother was along; and I'm sure that when I commented that my face hurt, his reply in true brotherly fashion was that it was killing him too.

George's only child, daughter Kelly, has written a lovely tribute to George here. Narrated personally by her, she shares the fun as well as the dark moments. George shared his weed with her at age 14, and she inherited his coke habit along with his sense of humor. A couple audio clips of him performing stand up are included. Kelly naturally struggled with first her mother's death at a young age and then George's, after many heart issues. Lots of name dropping as she told of the comic community rallying around her (and smoking weed) in thanks and appreciation for George's kindnesses and talent. Kind of long winded at times. There's a bonus interview with Gary Shandling after the book ends, which I much enjoyed.

Profile Image for Kelly.
22 reviews33 followers
December 17, 2015
I listened to the audiobook version. I did really like the book. However, I was not crazy about how Kelly Carlin read for the audiobook. I do really enjoy how she writes. I could see how some people might not like her since she does seem very entitled. But that surprisingly didn't bother me. I thought she was also very self aware of how she came across and just owned it.

It was a roller coaster ride and sometimes I felt myself screaming at her in my head "Why?!?!? Why would you do that?!?!?!" Especially the parts about Andrew. But it shows that you just have to live life and learn your lessons from all your experiences - good and bad.

I read it because I'm a huge George Carlin fan and it was very interesting to see a totally different side of him. Again, the good and the bad from the unique point of view of his one and only child. Now that I'm done the book, I'm listening again to George Carlin because it had been so long since I listened to any of his stand up and I've been reminded of how much I missed it.
Profile Image for Becky Carleton.
225 reviews14 followers
December 8, 2015

Full disclosure: I returned this book to the library without finishing it. I just couldn't take any more pathetic celebrity name-dropping. When Carlin bragged about bedding Leif Garrett--"Nothing could possibly top having sex with Leif Garrett in Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett's bed"--even the Tiger Beat teen inside me felt embarrassed for her. I had wanted to read her biography after seeing Kelly Carlin shine on the irreverently funny YouTube talk show, Getting Doug with High, especially since I'm a fan of her father's work. I wish I hadn't bothered. I hate feeling judgy about my favorite entertainers' personal lives, but it's hard not to on this kind of family outing. George! Really?! You think buying your daughter another BMW's gonna make everything OK? I'll never be able to listen to Carlin's classic "Stuff" routine without feeling sad for the comic's materialism rather than impressed with the unconventional spirit I thought he had. You can blame it on the times, but it's hard when your heroes turn out to be mere mortals. I guess because Carlin was such a comedic iconoclast I expected him to be a different kind of father instead of the sadly same-ole neglectful celebrity dad we hear about all too often. Major disappointment.
Profile Image for Sue.
194 reviews4 followers
December 9, 2015
A book by Kelly Carlin . . . about Kelly Carlin. Do not mistake this for a perspective on her father George. He wrote his own autobiography shortly before he passed (rip.) He was indeed everything the blurb says but that's not what this book is about.
Profile Image for Lee Anne.
814 reviews67 followers
February 16, 2016
If you pick up this book expecting the life of George Carlin, put it back down. What it is, instead, is an unintentionally revealing look at "difficult" life of the child of a celebrity.

Having heard Kelly Carlin on Gilbert Gottfried's podcast, where she was funny and sharp, I was expecting this book to be more of the same. Instead, it's an overly long, soul-searching memoir that would be a 5th rate Eat, Pray, Love type story if not for her famous father, which is of course the only reason anyone wants to read this book in the first place. Clearly she knows that dining out on her father is still her entree to the career she seems to think she wants, and that perhaps this book is the launchpad, but to use a cliche, it's a failure to launch.

I don't mean to sound so harsh here, I mean, what have I made of my life at just five years younger than Carlin herself? But as I said, it's unintentionally revealing the trap of being a child of wealth and comfort: Kelly Carlin, after a childhood watching her parents drink and drug and get (mostly) sober, and an adolescence straight out of the 1980 Jodie Foster movie "Foxes" (sex, drugs, rock & roll, abortions), bounces from a bad codependent marriage to a good one (Is there such a thing? She seems happy, but still not her own person.). Meanwhile, the cushion of her dad's money allows her to vacillate between wanting to be a TV writer, monologist (which her dad painfully quashes), therapist (which she self sabotages because what if she wants to do standup and her clients see her onstage?), ballerina, firefighter, cowboy, ninja (okay I'm kidding about those last four, but barely) and settles on "life coach."

She spends so much time grieving her mother's death that even her father finally says enough already. After his death, after telling us the aforementioned episode in which he met her at her therapist's office to tell her how betrayed he felt by her one-woman show, she conveniently envisions an empty stage and a microphone, and "hears" her father's voice saying,"It's all lined up for ya, Kiddo. Go for it."

God bless her, I wish her well, but I don't think I'd be taking any life advice from her.
Profile Image for Aaron.
18 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2016
I'm a huge fan of George Carlin and it pains me to rate this so low but I almost didn't finish this book. Kelly's large swaths of whiny, self-entitled navel-gazing seems like something that George would have railed against. Perhaps I was expecting something else, but it was too much Kelly stuff and not enough about George. I powered through the last third of the audiobook on 2x speed and will be watching clips of George on Youtube as a palate cleanser.
Profile Image for Retha Cameron.
47 reviews5 followers
September 13, 2015
I enjoyed this book a lot. If you were looking for a "feel good" story about George Carlin this is not the book for you.
This is an honest, sometimes painful, sometimes humorous, story of Kelly Carlin's life not a biography of the comic America loved.
Kelly's style of writing sucked me in and kept me wanting to read all day until I finished.

*** I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway ****
Profile Image for Koren .
849 reviews35 followers
July 10, 2019
George Carlin is my all-time favorite comedian, so I was very interested in finding out what he was like as a father. I have to say I was a little disappointed. I would think he would be the most fun dad ever. A laugh a minute. Not so. He was largely an absent parent and when he was home he wasnt always present due to drug and alcohol use by him and his wife. His wife was the bigger drug and alcohol user and her mental issues kept her from being the best parent. But his love for his wife and daughter shine thru and I admired how they both stuck with their mom, which I think helped her conquer her vices. Daughter Kelly is an only child and I do think she often comes across as being a spoiled little rich girl. At times, she dwells on one thing too long. The story of her mother's death and later her father's and dealing with her grief were way too long and keeps the book from being a 5 star book for me, but if you are a fan I think you will enjoy this look behind the scenes. I was hoping this book would be funny and there were moments, and perhaps I shouldnt have expected this, as the author is not a comedian. At times it seemed this was a lot of name dropping (look who I know) but otherwise, I liked that she dealt with issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, mental illness and grief.
Profile Image for JC.
148 reviews
December 28, 2015
I will blame myself for not really understanding that this book was a memoir about Kelly Carlin, with George in a supporting role. Perhaps if I had done my own homework I would have enjoyed it more or not read it at all.

I vaguely knew that George had a daughter and wife, I certainly had no idea that Kelly was doing anything in showbiz, so I read most of the book with a very judgmental eye, even though I kept telling myself to stop judging her.

She had a crap childhood. Both parents were addicts, and with that comes emotional abuse. There is no way Kelly could have emerged from her childhood unscathed, and she didn't. She goes on in lurid detail about all her bad choices, and I am a fan of full self-disclosure, but Kelly's stories were void of insight. The bit about Leif Garret made me embarrassed FOR HER. I am glad she found her footing in the world and made peace with her parents, but I couldn't help feeling this book dripped of ego and entitlement. I wanted to like Kelly, I really tried

For someone who spent most of the book describing her search for meaning and understanding of herself, she comes across as ignorant to her own arrogance and entitlement. Hell, she even became a therapist, and still couldn't recognize her own shortcomings. In all "celebrity" memoirs I expect name dropping, but she went the extra mile to tell everyone she came in contact with who her father was. By the end of the book she seems to have made little growth in maturity.

I wanted to like her and tried, I've got no issue with her writing style, because she is intelligent and has a way with words, but I could not get past the name-dropping of her dad. What sums up Kelly to me is her attitude and demeanor when she goes to take an early flight home after George died and expected the airline employees to bump her to first class for free because of who her father was. She didn't just say it once, no she kept going on about it and then criticizes Hawaiians ("Fucking Hawaiians!) for not knowing who George was. Also? She reviewed her own book with 5 stars.

As for George, nothing remotely shocked me or felt like any kind of insight into who he was. I will say this book has made me want to go back and watch all of his HBO specials in order. Like many dads and moms he was a mix of good and bad and a lot of in-between. He was kind, loving, funny, playful, insightful, and wise; he was also an addict, selfish (comes with addiction), and distant (both physically and emotionally). All of that makes him human. He was also incredibly insightful and profoundly hysterical.

I gave this two stars because if you really love George and need to hear stories you hadn't heard about him, then by all means pick it up and give it a read, but beware this is mostly a "poor me" book written by his daughter.
Profile Image for Jo.
183 reviews10 followers
October 28, 2015
Having watched George barking at his own shadows for decades, nothing in this memoir came as any surprise as it relates to his behavior. I did, however, enjoy the account of his supposed startled reaction upon his death - I like to believe he barreled into a sudden realization totally contradictory to what he perceived all his troubled, angry, insecure life.
His daughter sadly disappoints. She tells us how she worshipped him, allowing that worship to color and distort her own life, yet, knowing he disapproved of her airing all the dirty laundry, she does it anyway. In spades.
The ability to quote, word for word, what was said by people in passing, her parents, educators, her own self-absorbed blah-blah tended to make me feel I was reading a work of fiction.
With the plethora of name-dropping, bedroom tattles, and the admission of what a distructive shambles she made of her own life, up to and including her repeatedly likening herself to a "shaman", while still crashing into walls, I remain unconvinced she's found her own enlightenment and serenity.
Kelly Carlin still has a mountain of homework to do, beginning with something her father was taught while in rehab: Let Go.
Profile Image for Dennis McCrea.
59 reviews2 followers
October 4, 2015
I received a copy of this book as part of the Goodreads' 'First Reader' program.

This was a very depressing book to read. I really had a hard time trying to enjoy it...it was difficult resisting the temptation to simply set it aside. I do now have a greater appreciation of George Carlin, his career and its message. But the problem I had with the book is the perpetual effort of the author through the end of the book to find her authentic voice and not a contrived voice or message of her father.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
214 reviews6 followers
March 2, 2016
I’ll never forget the first time I heard of the late comedian George Carlin. I was at the tail end of my sixth grade year. Mr. S, my teacher, was driving a bunch of us silly twelve-year-old girls to a camping site where our entire class would stay for several days. Other kids in our class rode along with some of the parents who chose to chaperone this outing. Alas, my mother, too bougie for camping, decided to stay home.

Being a nosy bunch, my fellow sixth grade sisters began to snoop around Mr. S’s glove compartment box. In this box, we found several George Carlin cassette tapes. Not familiar with Mr. Carlin, we asked Mr. S about him and begged to listen to these tapes. Mr. S was a pretty cool dude, but not so cool that he’d allow young impressionable minds to listen to Carlin’s brand of comedy. Yes, we were all bummed, but we figured that George Carlin was too “grown-up.” I guess I would have to wait to find out why…

A few years, while watching cable TV, I found out why. Now in high school, and oh-so-mature, I stumbled upon one of George Carlin’s stand-up specials. I thought to myself, “Hey, isn’t this guy the guy Mr. S wouldn’t let us listen to? Hmm, I going to check him out.”

I soon realized why Mr. S wouldn’t let us listen to George Carlin. He was a total potty mouth and he was talking about issues a bit too “mature” for a bunch kids. But I was now in high school. Not to brag, but I had a bit of a potty mouth myself, and was becoming more and more aware of the mature themes Mr. Carlin was joking about. I laughed out loud during Mr. Carlin’s show, agreeing with many of his views. Before the ending credits I was a huge George Carlin fan.

And I remain a fan to this day. I was hugely saddened by his death in 2008 and can only imagine what he’d make of today’s political and social climate. I bet George Carlin would have a field day with the likes of the tea party, the current clown car of GOP presidential candidates, certain political pundits, the weeping Cheeto and soon-to-be former Speaker of the House-John Boehner , and wishy-washy Democrats (or as I like to call them “Republican Lite”).

Carlin was an icon in the world of comedy. Comedy bits like “Seven Dirty Words” and “A Place for my Stuff” are legendary. And undoubtedly, Carlin influenced countless of stand up comedians from Lewis Black to Chris Rock and from Margaret Cho.

What I can’t imagine is George Carlin as a father? George Carlin had a kid? Seriously? Well, yes, George Carlin had a kid, a daughter to be more precise. Her name is Kelly Carlin, and she has written a memoir about her life with her late father (and her late mother, Brenda). And her book, both heartbreaking and hopeful is called A Carlin Home Companion-Life With George.

According to Ms. Carlin, her father honed his comedy skills from the front stoop of his New York childhood home. He met his wife, Brenda, soon married, and Kelly Carlin came along in 1963. At the same time, her father was honing his comedy act and his career started to take off. At first, Carlin appeared to be a clean cut type, complete with short hair and a nice suit, But soon he let his hair grew out, put on a t-shirt and jeans, and embraced the counter culture (yep, that included the drug culture).

Carlin’s career went off into the stratosphere. And it was not without some controversies. In 1972, Carlin was arrested at Milwaukee’s entertainment festival Summerfest for his Seven Dirty Words act. Hmm, I wonder if Milwaukee and Summerfest became the eighth and ninth dirty words in the Carlin household. And Carlin became addicted to drugs, pot and cocaine being his drugs of choice.

Meanwhile, Ms. Carlin’s mom, Brenda, had her own issues to deal with. She struggled living in the shadow of her husband and also struggled to raise Kelly in a world that wasn’t exactly wholesome. Brenda also contended with a huge alcohol problem.

Due to Carlin’s huge career, not to mention the substance issues both he and wife suffered from, their parenting style could best be described as laissez-faire. They weren’t exactly neglectful, but they weren’t exactly doting either. At a time of great vulnerability, when Ms. Carlin needed stability and security, she often dealt with chaos and uncertainty. Would her mom be in bed, nursing a hangover? Would her dad be strung out on drugs? Plus, there were other issues that the Carlin family dealt with-financial, household and career woes being just a few.

As Carlin’s continued to reinvent himself as a stand up comic, his daughter went from confused little girl to troubled teen. She hung out with Ryan O’Neal’s son Griffin, and in one brief snippet mentions spying Farrah Fawcett shampoo while taking a shower at the O’Neal household. Ryan and Farrah were a huge item at the time. Ms. Carlin also had a tight bond with the late Carrie Hamilton, the daughter of a another comedy legend, Carol Burnett. Ms. Carlin was also friends with teen idol Leif Garrett and hung out with other celebrity offspring. She lived a fast lifestyle of drugs, drink, partying and sex. But when you think about it, she really didn’t have much of a different lifestyle than a lot of teens in the 1970s and early 1980s. She just lived in a more expensive zip code and drove a much better car.

As Ms. Carlin gets older, she meanders through college and tries to get her footing in the world of being an adult in which she was not quite prepared. Just how does she live as a grown-up when the grown-ups who raised her didn’t quite have their act together. Ms. Carlin can’t quite figure out what she should do when it comes to having a career and suffers through a truly horrible first marriage.

Meanwhile, her own parents deal with both triumphs and tribulations. Brenda conquers her problems with alcohol, and George seems to conquer his drug demons. His career continues to be successful, mostly due to his hilarious HBO stand-up specials, which leads to movie roles, a TV show and many best-selling books.

Still, heartbreak is always on the horizon and it isn’t long before Brenda is diagnosed with cancer. Ms. Carlin is devastated and the subsequent death of Brenda leaves a huge hole in her heart. Her father is also devastated, but soon finds a love again, which leaves Ms. Carlin a bit weirded-out.

Ms. Carlin still tries to find herself, feeling a bit lost even as she goes through her thirties. She makes attempts at several careers-performer and screenwriter to name two, but wonders if she’s only getting attention for being George Carlin’s daughter, not for her own talents.

It’s only when she attends grad school that she finds her footing. She studies psychology, hoping to become a counselor. Lord knows, she has the life experience to help those with messed-up lives. She also seems to have the compassion and understanding to help those who are truly troubled. Perhaps, having parent who weren’t exactly perfect not such a burden after all.

And then there is George Carlin’s death in 2008. Though you are well aware his unfortunate demise is coming, you can’t help but feel kicked in the stomach when it does happen. Ms. Carlin is devastated, but also accepts all the love that comes from his fans, both the famous and the not-so-famous expressed their sympathy and their love of the comedy legend. And Ms. Carlin’s appreciation for this is truly palpable.

Carlin Home Companion is not a “Daddy Dearest.” Sure, you get to know George Carlin, warts and all. But you also get a glimpse of a kind and loving man. Sure, he wasn’t Ward Cleaver, but he wasn’t a monster and his love for his only child is touching and real.

As for Ms. Carlin herself? She writes with amazing candor, self-awareness and compassion for her parents. She’s brutally honest, but also wonderfully empathetic. Her writing style is warm and down-to-earth. It’s almost as if your having a painfully honest conversation with a good friend.

This is Kelly Carlin’s memoir, and she is unbelievably honest on what it was like to be raised by a comedy legend, and all the glory and difficult times that came with it. I have seven not-so-dirty words for you Ms. Carlin. Bravo, Kelly! Your dad would be proud.

Originally published at The Book Self:
Profile Image for Leah K.
661 reviews2 followers
March 1, 2016
A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George by Kelly Carlin
336 pages

★★★ ½

I’m a big George Carlin fan. And something about him reminds me about my dad – maybe it’s the humor, maybe it’s the look, not sure. But every time I watch one of his specials, a small twinge of missing my dad springs up. So if you’re a big fan, should you read this? Only a soft maybe.

It is a good book! But it’s not a book about George Carlin, it’s a book about his daughter and as is expected, it focuses heavily on her. She brings up her father a lot through her younger years but that dissipates as time goes on. Then, at times, when she mentions her dad, it feels forced like “Oh yeah, I better throw an anecdote about daddy about now so people don’t forget whose daughter I am!” But if you take you take out that aspect, Kelly lived an interesting life. It’s a raw, emotional book. If you’re just looking to find the noble, the feel-good, squishy side of Carlin (any of them), this isn’t that book. Kelly is honest and I won’t lie, my perfect feelings of George were tainted a bit (but I still adore him). I liked this book but felt Kelly, at times, was taking advantage to get a book published by listing her dad in the title. Let’s be honest here, this book should have been called “This is a book about Kelly Carlin….George Carlin’s Daughter Gosh Darnit!”
Profile Image for Marisa Gonzalez.
871 reviews17 followers
July 4, 2016
Memoir of Kelly Carlin, daughter of George Carlin. who tells of her life growing up in a dysfunctional home with the famous comedian. Of course there were lots of stories of drugs and alcohol abuse but she also tells about how much she really loved her parents. What disappointed me was you do not find out until you are 2/3 of the way done that George Carlin was vehemently against her writing this book. I don't think he even cared about her talking about his drug abuse as it was widely known and he wrote his own memoir about it but I think he did mind her writing about her deceased mother's drug and alcohol issues and how she was neglected as a child. His comedy never included stories about his family thus he wanted to keep his personal life private so why couldn't Kelly show him and her mother the same respect? I think it comes down to George Carlin was proud of his daughter and loved her very much. He believed in her and wanted her to do something great on her own but instead she chose to ride on the coattails of his fame.
Profile Image for Chris Brimmer.
485 reviews4 followers
January 1, 2016
Quite the book, a family biography. Kelly Carlin is by turns a child/adult in a dysfunctional home, a spoiled teen unaware of her opportunities, victim, perpetrator, adult/child dependent on her father, but most of all member of a battered but unbowed family. The book by turns is funny, horrifying, sad and genuine. Three stories of a search for identity are woven together and the tapestry is rich. If you grew up with a parent with a substance abuse problem you see yourself and your struggle here. It gets a little too new-age California weird for me at the end (I have become a hard cold Yankee in my old age) but Kelly charms you into going along just to see how it comes out. If you want to see George Carlin as the funny, flawed but loving human being he was this is a great read.
470 reviews5 followers
November 18, 2015
I read this book as a fan of George Carlin because I wanted to know more about him, and the book gave me that. But, obviously, it's not a biography of George, it's a memoir of Kelly. It's pretty good as a memoir but if she wasn't George's daughter I wouldn't read it. I didn't relate to her. Anything negative about my experience reading the book is purely my fault as it was my choice to read it. Kelly did a fine job of writing - I'm just saying I wouldn't recommend it unless you really are interested in her personal struggles and growth.
Profile Image for Tracy Goode.
40 reviews5 followers
February 28, 2016
I picked up this book because I'm such a huge George Carlin fan. I had the pleasure of seeing him why in 1998 Anderson Indiana of all places. I think he was prepping for one of his HBO specials and I've never laughed so hard in my life. Kelly Carline has written a profound memoir of her journey of not so much living in the shadow of her famous father but riding through a storm of her childhood and how that shapes her life.
This book is real raw funny painful and beautiful all at once. Her journey is inspiring. I'm very glad I decided to pick up this book.
Profile Image for Heidi.
417 reviews5 followers
April 14, 2016
I made it about halfway through this book before realizing it wasn't worth my time anymore. It wasn't what I was expecting: I thought "Growing Up With George" would have more stories and anecdotes about George Carlin and his life and career, and there is some of that in the early part of the book, but most of it is his daughter Kelly's autobiography, with her famous dad on the periphery, and I got tired very quickly of reading about substance abuse, addiction, abusive relationships, spoiled rich children of celebrities, and self-destruction.
Profile Image for Bonnye Reed.
4,007 reviews66 followers
August 17, 2016
Very interesting book, in a poor little rich girl sort of way. Kelly does graciously and with humility grow up, however, and become a productive member of society. And the insights into the transformation are life lessions we all need to obtain. I must say that dispite the fact that I have always adored George, this look into his life somewhat dimmed the glow for me. Kelly truely was the only adult in her life at the age of 5 or 6.
Profile Image for Joe.
413 reviews14 followers
February 14, 2016
The hippy-dippy weatherman gave rise to a hippy-dippy daughter.

The only reason I'm not giving this one star is for this line: "...but nothing could possibly top having sex with Leif Garrett in Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett's bed."

Kelly shares, near the end of the book, seven things that her dad taught her (this was something she said at George's memorial service). If that had been published as an essay, I would have given it four stars. The rest of this is pretty bad.

9,464 reviews83 followers
September 27, 2015
This is much more a reflection of Kelly's life than of George's. While well written, it is more descriptive than insightful. It read somewhat clinicly as though it was read by an attorney before release. told me nothing new about george (one of my favorite comedians) or his life. thanks, though, for the ARC.
Profile Image for Hannah.
49 reviews19 followers
November 10, 2015
The early bits of his life, especially his life in New York and his life with his family on Tellem Drive, were the most interesting. This books delves very deeply into the life of his daughter (it is her book after all), but it wasn't exactly what I paid to read about. I'm glad I read it, but the ending did start to drag and I don't know that it was worth the twenty-odd dollars I spent on it.
Profile Image for Fred.
150 reviews1 follower
December 18, 2015
More than celebrity tell-all, Carlin's debut is a memoir of a childhood steeped in chaos and the long road to healing the wounds of the past. For anyone who's lost a parent or loved one, "A Carlin Home Companion" is a must read.
February 5, 2016
The book was okay until she shifted to writing all about her and her dad was on tour. Put it down when she started to put in comments like "gun nuts like gun nuts" and "we endured the Reagan era". If i want to read someone's political views, I will pick up a newspaper.
Profile Image for Morgan Parabola.
48 reviews12 followers
October 13, 2015
There's not a lot wrong with this book, I just didn't find myself enjoying it as much I hoped to. There are a lot of things in this book I could have done without.
Profile Image for Angela.
430 reviews6 followers
October 1, 2015
I loved this book. I laughed I cried. Great read!
Profile Image for John Morrison.
197 reviews5 followers
October 22, 2015
I won this book through the giveaways. A little depressing but very interesting. Had to keep reading it.
Profile Image for Cindy Fisher.
99 reviews3 followers
November 9, 2015
I didn't enjoy reading about spoiled, bratty rich kids from Beverly Hills.
529 reviews7 followers
January 20, 2016
George Carlin was a very funny man. Why that made me think I would enjoy this book I don't know. His daughter's life was just not interesting, at all.
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