Violet Ramis Stiel's affectionate memoir of her father, writer-director-producer-actor Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day, Animal House, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters), offers an overview of both his successful career and their often chaotic family life. At one point, Ramis tells his daughter, "I think, really, being an adult is about acknowledging ambiguity in all areas of life and finding a way to be okay with that." Stiel embraces the disorder of her childhood and her father's life.
Stiel's parents had a "marital arrangement of low-key nonmonogamy." When Stiel was eight, her parents decided to divorce because Ramis had fallen in love with his personal assistant (and soon-to-be second wife, Erica). That same year, Ramis and his daughter visited director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) in the hospital after she'd given birth. Later, Stiel discovered her dad had fathered Heckerling's baby girl. From an early age, Stiel visited the sets of most of her father's films, graduating to bit parts and working behind the scenes. The book ends with heartfelt memories of her father's four-year battle with debilitating vasculitis and a brain hemorrhage--something the family kept hidden. The secret kept his career safe but left the family without emotional support from loved ones.
Ghostbuster's Daughter is a genuine love letter to Harold Ramis from his adoring but clear-eyed, shrewd and opinionated daughter. Her portrait captures her father from all sides, calling him a "perfectly imperfect person" and "the best father I could have ever imagined." Fans will enjoy Stiel's deeply personal, irreverent and loving valentine to her beloved father. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant