As a die hard fan of the sitcom Parks and Recreation, picking up a copy of The Greatest Love Story Ever Told - written by the real life couple who play Ron Swanson and Tammy 2 on the show - required no prompting. Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are funny, talented, and have always seemed to me to be genuinely in love and likeable. After a painful period of lingering on my local library’s wait list, I was finally able to lay my hands on this beautiful book just over a week ago.
What I found inside its pages didn’t disappoint me, although I will say the format of the book took me by surprise. Alternating between short essays penned by Megan and Nick and transcriptions of conversations the couple have had on topics like their first meeting and their dogs, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told offers a comprehensive history of their relationship and the things that have kept them together. They delve deep into their family histories and, in Megan’s case, complex parent-child relationships that have greatly shaped her life.
Having become a fan of Nick’s because of Parks and Rec, my favourite part of reading this book was learning more about Megan’s backstory and her own incredibly successful acting career. She is a multiple Emmy Award-winning actress and an accomplished broadway singer and dancer. I loved reading about her childhood and adolescence in a ballet company, and how she didn’t find critical and commercial success until she was nearly 40.
It’s funny how, as consumers of film and television, we often fail to separate actors from the characters they play. This is absolutely true for me with Nick Offerman. When I see him in anything other than Parks and Rec I always say, “Oh looks it’s Ron Swanson!” Nick and Megan, who has gone through the same phenomenon with her beloved character Karen on Will & Grace, explain what it’s like to be so closely linked to a fictional person, and how it has both benefitted and hindered their careers. It’s very interested to read their dissections of fame, wealth and the reality of having thousands of fans.
Historically I haven’t been a big fan of celebrity memoirs. I don’t really enjoy reading advice from people who have so much more money and so many more resources that I do. For example, hearing about a millionaires’ skin care routine doesn’t really help me as someone who probably can’t afford to go out and buy the products they recommend. And in some instances its hard to relate to what Nick and Megan experience. In one essay in particular, Megan offers advice on decluttering and believing in oneself, and it feels slightly misguided for her to claim that good things come if you just believe they will, considering the fact that many people are born into circumstances beyond their control.
The few sections of the book, like the one mentioned above, that I didn’t enjoy were quickly offset by hilarious and endearing chapters where the couple recounted embarrassing and cute moments in their relationship. Despite their wealth and success, they still enjoy doing puzzles, listening to audiobooks, woodworking, and other normal hobbies that make them feel more relatable. I was particularly drawn in by their descriptions of what it’s like to constantly have fans asking for pictures and only wanting to get a photo for the social media cred it gives them.
Overall, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is a fun, uplifting and relaxing read. I brought it with me on my recent trip to Havana, Cuba, and it was fantastic to read something so positive and upbeat during my holiday. If you like celebrity memoirs or if you’re interested in learning about the complexities about being famous, this is the book for you.
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