Book Review: Once Around the Bloch - The Unauthorized Autobiography by Robert Bloch

  You know the books that you can't wait to finish reading? Well this gem is definitely one of those. Truly, this has been one of the best autobiographies I have ever read and I can't wait to tell you about it. The title alone is a clue to the subtlety of his humor, and the book is fair brimming with it.

Who is Robert Bloch? Well, he is probably best known for writing the book Psycho which Alfred Hitchcock made into the famous film. However, Robert's writing career began 25 years before the sale of Psycho, and full of very trying times indeed. After Psycho, his name would became much more well known as he became a regular screenwriter for TV series, and finally to many more films and books.

One of the most intriguing bits is the time revolving around the making of the film Straight-Jacket starring Joan Crawford (if you haven't seen it, you MUST, it's great!) who would become a lifelong friend to Robert. It's refreshing to see a different perspective on Joan, away from the Mommie Dearest persona that became so popular in the 80's. However, she was most definitely a unique individual, and an extremely strong woman.

This is not a Hollywood gossip-type book at all. Any "dishing" he does is subtle and with tact. Also, he was not a typical jet-setter only interested in the Hollywood party lifestyle. Remember, he is a writer first and foremost, content to hide himself away with his typewriter. It wasn't until after he met and married his second wife (he proposed after a mere 22 minutes of their introduction!) that his social life picked up considerably.

Another one of my favorite parts is when he got his first writing job with Amicus and meets Christopher Lee. They become fast friends and collaborate on both sides of the pond. This would be a good place to mention my book review of Peter Cushing's autobiography, which holds the #1 place in my heart for favorite autobiographies.

Even if you are not a horror fan, you will enjoy this book. Be sure to pay close attention, sometimes his wit is so dry and subtle, you'll miss it if you blink. Highly, highly recommended.

Oh and P.S., did I mention he was pen-pals with freaking H.P. Lovecraft??!