Chris FarleyFans of comedy can probably look back and wonder where they were when they found out that comedian Chris Farley had passed away at the age of 33. If they read the papers at that time, they can also recall not being shocked.

The hot nonfiction title The Chris Farley Show, cowritten by his brother Tom, is an illuminating character study broken into 3 acts. Act I paints the portrait of a deeply religious and well-intentioned boy from Madison, Wisconsin with a Midwestern innocence that he never lost even at the darkest hour. Act II shows a fireball ascent through the ranks of Second City, Saturday Night Live , and motion pictures by a natural talent with spot-on instincts in terms of timing, physicality, and energy. Unfortunately, Act Three ends like it does in the real world, as the professional parallels between himself and idol John Belushi materialize in an all-too real fashion. The conclusion is painful, as the book shows us a kinder man than the one John Q. Public merely saw take pratfalls for the amusement of unseen millions.

The writing style takes a while to get used to, as the linear narrative of the author is consistently backed up by quotes from his friends, family and celebrity co-workers. It’s worth it. You’ll wish you could change the ending, though.