Book Review – Alan Shayne and Norman Sunshine – Double Life

This is a joint autobiography by an actor-turned-producer and an artist, from their teens before they met as young men struggling to establish their careers, through the twists and turns of those careers, and finally their legal marriage four decades later.

It’s a story about how gay men lived and were treated in the US over the course of decades. It’s a fascinating insight into the production aspects and the internal politics of getting a film or TV show made, and the vagaries of building a career in both commercial and fine art. It’s also a touching love story of a couple deeply devoted to one another.

I found it slow going at first. I think this was largely because part of the appeal of the book should have been about it being about the private lives of two men who are well known in their fields, but both of them were completely unfamiliar to me. I was slowly drawn in, and then completely fascinated by the story they were telling. And yes, I did have a tear in my eye as the book closed with their quiet wedding on an almost empty beach.

I started this not convinced I’d reach the end. By the time I finished it I was very glad I had.

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