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That's Amore: A Son Remembers Dean Martin
By Ricci Martin & Christopher Smith

A deceptively well-written and reflective preface sets a false tone of sophistication for That's Amore (Taylor Publishing), a new memoir penned by dean Martin's youngest son, Ricci. Indeed, the recounting of life with Dino jumps from year to movie to song so haphazardly, it takes the reader a few chapters to deduce the juicy bits—such as the fact that Dean Martin's divorce from his first wife, second marriage, and the birth of son Dean Paul happened in short order.

Instead, this biography offers insight into the happy home life of the easygoing actor/singer and his ever-expanding brood of children, replete with tidbits of typical dinnertime chatter. The boys-will-be-boys account of life at 601 Mountain Drive reveals parents who were pretty casual about the arsenal of artillery their sons collected, and who even built a track around the yard for their motorcycles and tank. Yes, a tank. In Beverly Hills, no less. But these are the same kids who never went on a family vacation, other than the two-week engagements a year their crooner dad performed in Vegas—a fact that may come as a surprise to those who envision Dean Martin's life and career as a constant cruise on the Strip...which, we're assured, it wasn't.

His whimsical teaming with Jerry Lewis and their eventual, bitter break-up is related to the reader in very simplistic terms, just a Dino explained it to his son, an amusing Rat Pack insight is sprinkled throughout. There is very little mention of movie sets or recording studios, although Martin the younger includes accounts of celebrity run-ins and name dropping that go with life in the entertainment industry. In the end, discovering that eating buttered bread and taking a nap were two of Dino's favorite pastimes—not drinking and womanizing—may prove disappointing for fans hoping to catch a more fabulous glimpse of the real life of a movie idol.

—Heidi W. Moore

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