'Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf'

By: Bob Spiwak

I am not a Bill Murray fan. However, my wife paid a dollar for "Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf," by Murray with George Peper. She got the book at a library-donated book sale, and odds are that the donor paid the library to take it.

This is, to me, a bad book. The layout is rough, with the text interrupted regularly with sidebars - some a full page in size - involving people commenting on Murray, from celebrities to family members. Even worse are the photographs, at least in this copy. They're out of focus, grainy and devoted to a variety of ho-hum pictures of Bill.

How and why the estimable Peper allowed his name on the thing I will never know for I have long respected his writing and editing.

The title implies the movie "Caddyshack," one of my favorites, and derives from the scene where Murray as greenskeeper Carl Spackler is doing a monologue of his great golfing prowess as he blasts chrysanthemum blooms off their stems with a club.

The book revolves around Murray's appearance at the AT&T National Pro-am, and revolve it does. There is little about the golf or even the tournament, rather remembrances of the author's life in golf, which is, granted, in the subtitle. Not only are these not particularly interesting (to me, I remind you) but he tries to be funny throughout. As an actor/comedian Murray can be humorous; as an author he misses the cut.

With all this in mind and eye, it was hard to get past the middle of the book. I found myself skimming pages looking for something to jump out and grab my attention. There were precious few, and those were far from precious.

I could go on but why bother. It may be that this was a galley or review copy and the photos at least are better (if you care) in the editions for sale. There is a bar code on the inside back cover, but no retail price anywhere. [Editor's Note: A new hardcover version of this book can now be purchased for 90 cents on Amazon.]

In short, of hundreds of golf books I've read or tried to read, this is the worst. And that is no joke.

"Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf," by Bill Murray and George Peper, 1999, Doubleday, ISBN 9780767905220, 211 pages.

Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he's back to being a fanatical golfer. Now a contributing editor for Cybergolf, Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world. Bob's most treasured golf antiquity is a nod he got from Gerald Ford at the 1990 Golf Summit. Spiwak lives in Mazama, Wash., with his wife and several pets next to his fabled ultra-private Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.