Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, but You Can Read Them Too

In 2015, Louie Anderson was hired to play Zach Galifianakis's mother, Christine Baskets, on the FX comedy series Baskets. Since he felt that he was channeling his mother to portray the character, he started writing letters to his mom (who died in 1990) to update her on his life and career, ask her questions and try to sort out his childhood. Anderson was the 10th child (of 11 kids) in a poor family dominated by a violent and abusive alcoholic father.

Over the three years he penned these letters, Anderson won an Emmy award for his performance on the series, sorted through troubling family history, grieved the sudden death of his younger brother, and tried to strengthen the ties with his remaining siblings and family. Anderson has made a career out of poking fun at his dysfunctional family and food addiction, so there are some laughs throughout. (Anderson once dreamt he'd died and was embalmed with butter. "People were walking by me, paying their respects and saying, 'God, he smells good.' ") But the comedian primarily delves deeper to reveal painful family secrets, forgive the past and curb his destructive behaviors by joining Adult Children of Alcoholics and entering therapy. Anderson also looks back on his four-decade career, celebrating successes (his animated Life with Louie TV series), acknowledging his failures (losing his job hosting Family Feud) and appreciating his career resurgence.

Hey Mom is an articulate, insightful and openly emotional series of letters that will resonate with those recovering from traumatic childhoods and with fans of Anderson's 1989 book, Dear Dad. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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