While Fred Rogers was alive, he did not want a biography written about him because he didn’t want it to be about him, he wanted all the focus on the children. This book is the first full-length biography about him. The author convinced the family that Fred’s important legacy be carried on through this book. I suspect that the family had complete editorial control over the final edition because there is not a single unkind word about Fred Rogers. Almost every page reminds us of what a hard-working, kind, talented, teacher, serious-thinker, religious, generous, positive, authentic man he was. You come away with the knowledge that what you see is what you get. He was the same on stage as off stage. My problem with the book is that the praise becomes repetitious instead of informative.
The book starts with his birth to death with stories about growing up with wealthy parents and doting grandparents; painful portions of his childhood; his college years at Dartmouth and Rollins; his marriage and family life with his two sons; his time at seminary and his ministry; his hobbies; and his friends in addition to all of his years in television. The book covers his entire life as opposed to the upcoming movie “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks which starts when Mr. Rogers was in his late 30’s or early 40’s.
True confession: I never watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I was ten years old when it started. I would catch a few of the shows, but I was creeped out by the Lady Elaine Fairchilde puppet. Mr. Rogers was a quiet man. I was a loud person. The show just didn’t appeal to me. I never encouraged my children to watch it. After listening to the audio, I felt a little guilty about not being a good parent. The lessons he taught on kindness and the value of children are very important. I am sorry I never paid attention.
I am giving the book 3 Stars. It was well written and beautifully performed by LeVar Burton. But parts of it were boring, and as I said earlier it was often repetitious when it reminded us numerous times that Mr. Rogers was an incredible human being. The audio was 14 hours and 7 minutes long. I enjoyed about 10 hours of it.
And Now For My Recipes For Readers Recommendation:
I learned from the book that Fred Rogers went to high school with Arnold Palmer. I thought about doing a Spiked Arnold Palmer drink recipe, but Fred Rogers did not drink. He was also a vegetarian. I decided it was best to go with a Southwestern Salad. Click here for the Recipe.