"There's something about his eyes. He's an insane man, and in another country he'd be locked up."
The above quote from fellow actor John Larroquette fairly sums up Bill Murray. What is it about Murray that his antics render him American's beloved "modern-day trickster god" rather than an inmate at the nearest central lockup? That question is explored to hilarious and profound end by Gavin Edwards in The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing.
Contributing editor for Rolling Stone, Edwards believes Murray is "secretly teaching us how to live." Using the Ten Principles of Bill ("Invite yourself to the party" and "While the world is spinning make yourself useful," for example), Edwards shares decades of zany Murray antics. As a whole, however, the Principles indicate that Murray's madcap nature is a means to become the best version of himself while trying to make the world a better place.
Murray is the embodiment of the Fourth Principle: "Make sure everybody else is invited to the party." He might crash your get-together and give a toast, drag you from a retail establishment to pelt you with snowballs, or pull his shirt over his head, rub his belly and photo bomb your vacation. Because it's Bill, these encounters end with laughter and legend rather than handcuffs. The Tao of Bill Murray is a joy to read and a must for Murray fans, but it's also a heartfelt reminder that we're in this together, and together we can all enjoy the party.
STREET SENSE: A hilarious and entertaining trip down the Road of Murray, Edwards still presents the meaningful side of The Murricane. This book is great insight into just who Bill Murray is, and it's recommended for anyone who is curious as to which personal might be the real one.
A FAVORITE PASSAGE: "So what's it like to be me" he asked. "Ask yourself: 'What's it like to be me?' The only way we'll ever know what it's like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can--and keep reminding yourself that's where home is." Bill smiled. "That's where home is."
COVER NERD SAYS: This cover doesn't light me on fire, and absent the grouping of images with the varying hats I'm not even sure I would know who this image was depicting without looking at the title of the book. But the images together with the hats DO tip it off, and it attracts me because I realize it's about Bill Murray. The cover itself not so much. To be fair, it pales a bit in comparison to the cover of last year's The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray:
A version of this review previously appeared in Shelf Awareness and is reposted here with permission.