The following reviews of Big Lou have been posted on various online web bookstores:

Beautiful Tribute

Reviewer: David Nahmod from San Francisco

This is a loving, lovely tribute to the late soap opera star Louis Edmonds (Dark Shadows, All My Children) Craig Hamrick, who knew Edmonds during the last 8 years of the actor's life, is clearly in love (platonically) with his subject. He tells the story of Edmonds' life in a highly readable, no holds barred manner.Edmonds was a brilliant actor whose ego might have prevented his career from progressing as far as it could have. He was also a great wit, a passionate lover who had two long term relationships, and a deeply loyal friend. Hamrick writes openly and honestly about all of this, the good, the bad and the ugly, never losing sight of his own deep affection for the man.This book will stand as a lasting tribute to Louis Edmonds' life and career. He might have been forgotten, as so many soap actors are. Thanks to Craig Hamrick, this wonderful actor will be remembered for many years to come.

Funny, Touching and Tenderly Told
Reviewer: Glen R. Wight from Woonsocket, Rhode Island

This hard-to-put down biography which is loaded with many before unknown facts about bigger-than-life performer/actor Louis Edmonds, most widely known as Roger Collins from the gothic serial Dark Shadows, is funny,touching and tenderly told by author Craig Hamrick, who became known as a friend to the actor in the latter years of his life. Yet, do not dismiss this as sugar coated fantasy, for it is told, with Louis' permission, in a forthright , no-holds-barred, bare bones manner that should earn its own praise. Hamrick has a way with laying down facts, yet not in stilted encyclopedic fashion but in a way that you actually get to know Mr. Edmonds in a more intimate light, and I for one, am deeply saddened by the fact I never had gotten the opportunity to meet this great man while he was still alive. Craig Hamrick has earned my respect as a biographer and I eagerly anticipate his next venture Barnabas & Co. due later this summer, as well as any other literary undertaking this author may take. Kudos to him for taking me into the heart and home of one of my favorite Dark Shadows actors and making me feel as if I'd met him myself! The book is a triumph and a must for all Dark Shadows, Louis Edmonds or All My Children fans! Put this on your list for summer reading. I read it cover to cover in less than two days!

Reviewer: Stuart Manning from Aberdeen United Kingdom

Louis Edmonds' death in early 2001 robbed Dark Shadows fandom of its elder statesmen. Of all the Dark Shadows cast, Louis Edmonds at times managed, perplexingly, to simultaneously be the most ubiquitous and elusive. On one level, Louis the showman remained a distinct and vibrant personality, very much admired by fans, yet one that at times seems difficult to extracate from the vestiges of Roger Collins and a handful of humourous anecdotes. To many Dark Shadows fans, this persona is arguably as familiar as any of the characters Louis portrayed on the show.

Author Craig Hamrick does much to redress the balance with the new edition of his biography Big Lou: The Life and Career of Louis Edmonds. With a respectable period having elapsed since Louis' death, the book is able to take a more rounded look at its subject, and the results are frequently illuminating.
Unlike the first book, which took a more formal approach, the new edition is told very much through its author's eyes, and arguably is as much Craig Hamrick's story at times, as it is Louis'. From the pair's initial meeting, to Louis' funeral nearly a decade later, the reader is given a very honest appraisal which doesn't attempt to reconcile the contradictions it throws up, and indeed is all the more enjoyable for doing so. Louis' faults are lain bare and the author isn't afraid to note these - for example, his recounting of Louis' pre-occupation with money and occasions of professional arrogance go a long way to explaining why he perhaps never attained the widespread success his talented deserved.

Louis himself emerges as a somewhat melancholy soul in the process, battling the twin demons of alcohol and depression. Noting a suicide attempt along the way, it adds a certain grim undertone to the exuberant public personality so many of us knew. Yet, for all the sadness depicted, there's still plenty of humour and warmth, and perhaps this is Louis' most admirable quality. Louis' final years are perhaps the saddest, yet it is during these that he hearteningly seems to find a sense of peace that had eluded him so badly in the past. Particularly poignant are his indulgement predictions of his own self-dramatised demise, which seem all the sadder when juxtaposed with the quiet exit he eventually makes.

Throughout the book are sprinkled little novelized vignettes of key moments in Louis' life, which work with mixed results. At best, they succeed in painting out Louis' journey in broad strokes, and the passage where Louis reflects on the drastic effects of his cancer surgery in particular, is particularly moving and tragic. An undoubtedly cinematic device, at times they seem forced, yet one feels it is an indulgence of which Edmonds himself would have heartily approved.
As a biography, this is an excellent work of reference and research, but on a broader level, it is a wonderful personal account of a unique performer and individual that manages to strike that rare balance between pragmatism and celebration.

Superb Study of a Superb, Neglected Actor

Reviewer: David Nahmod, a writer & filmaker

This is, to my knowledge, the first full-legnth bio of a soap star. Louis Edmonds (1923-2001) had a five year run on Dark Shadows and a 16-year run on All My Children. But he also had hundreds on roles on the stage and in early live TV.He was a superb character actor with a strong daytime TV fan base. But he never got the level of stardom that he deserved.

Craig Hamrick's Big Lou gives Louis Edmonds that belated recognition. In a very well written & researched tome, Hamrick profiles every aspect of Louis' career, including quotes from friends, family, and co-workers. His life as a semi-closeted gay actor, his public coming out in his 70s, and his stregnth & courage as he faced illnesses that took first his career, then his life, are discussed in great detail.It's a wonderful book about a wonderful actor, who, thanks to Craig Hamrick, will not be forgotten.

Big Lou Is Big Fun!
Reviewer: Michael Karol, a writer based in New York

This is a fascinating look at the career of a journeyman actor, Louis Edmonds, who is best known for his lengthy soap stints on Dark Shadows and All My Children. What probably isn't known by the average viewer is that Edmonds was a respected actor with an enviable stage career whose ego and temperament might have prevented his career from taking off. Author (and Dark Shadows expert) Craig Hamrick takes just the right tone in presenting Edmonds' life, warts and all.

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