While listening to Alda's colorful and often poignant recollections, it becomes clear that, in addition to being a consummate actor, he is an introspective storyteller who isn't constrained by memory. Indeed, Alda's tales are sometimes surreally vivid, particularly those from when he was a toddler. "From my earliest days, I was standing off to the side watching, trying to understand a world that fascinated me," he recalls. Alda's autobiography is equally fascinating. With a touch of wonderment in his voice, he tells of weeks spent traveling with his father's burlesque company, of time spent with his dog Rhapsody (before he was stuffed), of a lifetime spent coping with his mother's mental illness and of the highs and lows of his acting career. Though the organization of these musings can feel disjointed, Alda's intimate, dynamic narration makes one feel as if you're sitting across from a wise and entertaining friend, the kind you could listen to for hours. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 5). (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.