Russell Baker Richard Lingeman - Essay

Richard Lingeman

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

As we all know from reading the higher fan journalism, funny people are really deeply unhappy. They had childhoods that make Charles Dickens's blacking factory seem like Charles Ryder's golden summer with Sebastian at Oxford.

And so I approached Russell Baker's autobiography, "Growing Up," with high anticipation, expecting a heartening read about someone more miserable than I am. Alas, I was deeply disappointed. To come straight out with it, Russell Baker, who writes funny stuff three times a week for his Observer column in The New York Times, ruined my day. This is not the kind of book one can put down with a contented sigh: "That poor son of a bitch." Instead of being a grim tale of drunken...

(The entire section is 874 words.)