Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: I'm Just Sayin'!

Summary: As the notorious Reva Shayne on the daytime television drama Guiding Light, Kim Zimmer portrayed a vixen, a manic-depressive, an Amish woman, a time traveler, a Civil War belle, a talk show host, a cancer survivor, a loving mother, and a devoted wife. In her more than two decades on the show, she earned eleven Daytime Emmy nominations and four wins, not to mention a legion of loving fans. Now, in this heartfelt memoir, Zimmer delves into her experiences as a daytime diva.

Packed with on- and off-set photographs and behind-the-scenes information, blatantly honest and wildly indiscreet, I’m Just Sayin’ tells all in an insightful journey through the parallel lives of Reva Shayne and Kim Zimmer—and the true stories behind the longest-running drama in television and radio history. -- NAL

I probably should be embarrassed to admit this, but I used to be a huge fan of soaps. I first remember watching Search for Tomorrow when I was seven years old with my mother, and my love affair with these dramas just took off from there. It must have been in my genes because I have fond memories of watching these shows with my sister, mother, and grandmother. Heck, I was even named after a character on Edge of Night. For many years, I would watch all four of the CBS shows on a daily basis... that is, until my all-time favorite (and longest running) show Guiding Light was cancelled in 2009 after a 72 year run!

So when I received an email pitch for I'M JUST SAYIN'!: THREE DEATHS, SEVEN HUSBANDS, AND A CLONE! MY LIFE ON GUIDING LIGHT AND BEYOND by Kim Zimmer with Laura Morton, I couldn't possibly say "no," could I? It's not that Reva Shayne was my all-time favorite character (in fact, I disliked her much of the time!) NoR was Kim Zimmer my favorite actress (despite her four Daytime Emmy wins.) Rather, I just wanted to take a trip down memory road and get some behind-the-scenes scoop about Guiding Light. And let me tell you, I'M JUST SAYIN' didn't disappoint!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the character Reva Shayne or the actress Kim Zimmer, they are both kind of larger than life. Ms. Zimmer pretty much says exactly what pops into her mind and she doesn't shy away from controversy in this book. I had no idea that there was tension (and I think that's putting it mildly) between Ms. Zimmer and the show's executive producer Ellen Wheeler. Ms Zimmer didn't pull any punches in describing their disagreements as well as her personal opinions about the direction the show was taking towards the end. She was also very candid about her relationships with some of her co-workers, although I do think she focused on the ones that she liked and didn't really "go negative" about any of them.

Ms. Zimmer was also very vocal about how frustrated she became with the production quality (or lack thereof) of Guiding Light as the show neared its demise. As a regular viewer, I thought the more frequent use of outside scenes was strange, but I had no idea that the decline in quality was a result of cost-cutting measures. All I knew was that it was sometimes difficult to hear the actors and I figured the producers were trying to give Guiding Light a different look from the other daytime shows. In hindsight, I feel a little dumb for not being more intuitive!

In addition to describing the atmosphere of the last few years of Guiding Light, Ms. Zimmer also shared some things about her early acting career as well as her long-time marriage. I found this to be interesting, but I definitely was reading this book to learn more about Reva Shayne and mainly Guiding Light. Ms. Zimmer also did a great job in reviewing the character arc of Reva (and comparing it to her own life), and I had a lot of fun revisiting all of those famous (and sometimes crazy!) scenes. I especially enjoyed some of the stories about her co-workers since I felt as if I'd known many of them for years!

Despite believing that Kim Zimmer will pretty much say anything about anybody, one thing that did come as a surprise to me was her candidness about some of her personal issues. While it was apparent that she didn't agree with Ms. Wheeler much of the time, Ms. Zimmer did admit that she made a few mistakes when it came to their relationship. She also gave Ms. Wheeler some credit for a few of her more unique ideas. Furthermore, Ms. Zimmer showed a lot of openness when she gave details about her experiences with menopause as well as her weight gain and her reaction to her visit on the Oprah Winfrey show.

But probably the most honest aspect of this book was how it began. Ms. Zimmer started the book with a description of a car accident that was a result of her driving while intoxicated. She was very open about her drinking and partying ways, especially as the soap was going through its rough periods towards the end. I commend her for her honesty, but I do admit that I was a little bit disappointed (but perhaps not entirely surprised, if that makes sense!)

Overall, I thought I'M JUST SAYIN' was blast! It was a fun ride for me down memory lane, and I definitely recommend this book to long-time fans of Guiding Light!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

9 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've never seen a soap opera so I'm not sure this would be the book for me. General Hospital was all the rage while I was in college and I was in the room a time or two while other people watched it, but I never actually did. I wasn't allowed to watch much TV as a child and have never picked up the habit.

Karlie said...

I need to read this!!

Karlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Serena said...

I loved this book...what did you think of Butt Darts! Hilarious. I was glad she was candid about her drinking, etc. I love that honesty...it's so rare when people admit their own mistakes.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I used to ba a fan of soaps too. So glad I discovered books instead! LOL

Stacie said...

I was a huge CBS soap fan too. In the summer as a teen, I would move our tiny black and white Tv outside so I could lay out and watch my soaps. I loved Guiding Light and Zimmers character. I didn't even know about this book. Thanks for sharing this book and your review.

Gail Wood said...

Omigawd! You were named for a character on The Edge of Night. Like you, I remember watching the Secret Storm while my mother ironed and my grandmother shelled peas. The opening to both the Secret Storm and The Edge of Night (my favorite) are both vivid in my memory.
Thanks for the review of the book. My mother is still talking about Reva!

Gail Wood said...

Omigawd! You were named for a character on The Edge of Night. Like you, I remember watching the Secret Storm while my mother ironed and my grandmother shelled peas. The opening to both the Secret Storm and The Edge of Night (my favorite) are both vivid in my memory.
Thanks for the review of the book. My mother is still talking about Reva!

Carol said...

I used to love Guiding Light and especially Reva and Josh. I'll have to read this.