Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Alec Baldwin, Crystal Chappell, Oprah & More--Five Juicy Reasons Kim Zimmer's New Tell-all Is for Everyone

"I'm Just Sayin': Three Deaths, Seven Husbands, and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva," by Kim Zimmer (with Laura Morton), goes on sale today. I was introduced to Kim long after GUIDING LIGHT, but although I had never seen Reva Shayne in all her glory, I ended up reading the whole book in one afternoon. Always witty and insightful, and frequently touching, this tell-all really tells all, and it's enjoyable even for non-soap fans. I certainly couldn't put “I'm Just Sayin'' down—here's why:
  1. Lots of tasty tidbits about dozens and dozens of TV and film stars. For example, while she was pregnant, Kim writes, she always knew who she could count on: “If I craved egg-salad sandwiches with dill pickles on white Wonder bread, Alec [Baldwin] would take off for the NBC commissary and return with egg salad in hand!” When she was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey show, after a bit of an, um... misunderstanding, Oprah came around. “In that moment, I realized why Oprah is who she is. She was honest, candid, and real. She apologized, and owned her mistake.”
  2. The book is packed with rare, humanizing glimpses inside the mind of a TV star at work. For example, Kim has fun with Reva's promiscuity: “...as I often said on the set, 'Reva's got a golden pussy!' I seriously made up a song about it to the tune of 'I've Got a Golden Ticket,' from “Willy Wonka”, that I would sing whenever new meat was on the set.'” On her unique connection with Kathleen Turner, she admits, “Don't get me wrong. I admire Kathleen Turner, but it felt a little bit like I was stalking her!”
  3. She shares poignant moments of her life as a real woman living in the spotlight. They're refreshingly down-to-earth. On being pregnant simultaneously on-screen and off: “I backed off a bit on my TV labor so I wouldn't accidentally go into real labor!” On menopause: “Reva would have looked menopause square in the eye and said, 'You're not going to kick me when I'm down!' Unfortunately, I didn't have her resolve.”
  4. Organically. and humbly, it manages to show how actors of such stature—especially soap actors—can affect people. “When Reva suffered through her breast cancer, I received many letters from women with breast cancer who found the story difficult to watch yet also loved it, because it gave them hope for survival. I embraced these letters; they kept me motivated to make sure we were telling the story as truthfully as possible.” And she genuinely enjoys her charity work. “I will never forget that encounter and the many others I had over the years with actors, athletes, and musicians, including Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, and The Rock. It turns out these guys are big fans of daytime television!”
  5. Her bravery and realness when recounting some poor choices around alcohol are commendable, and her stories, disarming and never preachy, will help people. For some, I laughed with her: “It turns out the one-armed hooker wasn't much of a conversationalist... How the hell did I get here?” Others gave me wet eyes. “Thank God my two dear friends, Crystal Chappell and Hillary Bailey Smith, were there to help me. They got me out of there and made sure that no photographers were able to get any pictures of me in that state."
“I'm Just Sayin'” presents a comprehensive, insider's view of life on the set of GUIDING LIGHT, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, THE DOCTORS and many other productions. But it also offers much, much more, and it's perfect for a day at the beach or an evening in bed; as a gift for any strong, mature woman or an ardent soap fan. I would recommend it to almost anyone.

Order your copy here or here.

Kevin Mulcahy Jr. is a Harvard alum who is currently working as a staff contributor at welovesoaps.com writing theater, book and web series reviews as well as other in-depth features. Read all his Web Series reviews here. To contact Kevin, email [email protected].


  1. I JUST got the notification that it just got downloaded to my kindle since I pre-ordered it.. I can't wait to start reading it !!

  2. You're in for a treat. Tell us what you think, P.Kellach W.!

  3. I was up early this morning and downloaded it to my Kindle. I'd planned to just read a few pages and could NOT stop reading - ended up reading the whole damn thing!

    It definitely brought back a lot of the discussion about the end of GL and of Ellen Wheeler. It was interesting to hear Kim's POV on the end, unfiltered.

    I also loved her remembrances of Beverlee McKinsey, Larry Gates and Chris Bernau.

    All in all I liked the book a lot....but would have loved to see MORE remembrances from GL.