Actress Bonnie Hunt likes books about doctors, dreamers, and a certain tap-dancing tough guy.
When you grow up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Chicago, when you don't have money to go out and do things, you spend your summer nights on the porch telling and listening to stories. I was very lucky because my dad was a great storyteller. The neighbors would always end up on our front porch, and my dad would hold everybody's interest.
My mom had the same gift. Sometimes instead of reading to us, she'd make up her own stories and have us illustrate them. When we were finished, we'd staple our "books" together.
That she had the energy to do this is astonishing. I'm the sixth of seven children, and my mom took care of both my grandmothers in their old age. My dad also worked very hard; he was a self-taught electrician. On the porch in the summer and every night The Andy Griffith Show was on, both of them got to forget their problems—they laughed so much with that family in Mayberry. They were entertained and moved. I looked forward to those times because I knew they weren't worried then.
As a writer—I work on every episode of Life with Bonnie —I always think about what stories gave to my parents. Can I possibly do that? I take the opportunity to have my creative voice heard every single week as a huge responsibility. I consider myself an extraordinarily lucky person to maybe give some family someplace the same things that I got from the stories—the TV shows and books—of my childhood.
Bonnie Hunt is an executive producer and co-creator of Life with Bonnie, on ABC.
What's on Bonnie Hunt's Bookshelf? Read more!
From the March 2004 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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