Book Review: Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man

Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man by Steve Alpert

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man is a memoir by Steve Alpert, an American who worked at the Japanese animation Studio Ghlibi for 15 years where he worked international distribution for the company, and provided translation for the heads of the studio when need be. His narrative straddles the time of hand-painted cels and the switch to digital animation. The stories he tells are both fascinating, discussing the minute details of what goes on when a foreign film exchanges hands and becomes Americanized; and also hilarious when he finds himself in situations he isn’t nearly prepared for.

If you consider yourself a movie buff, this is a pretty fun little dive into the film-making world. It’s not about how a movie is made but a peek into what it’s like working in the studio while one’s being made. It covers more of the marketing of the film, specifically the special circumstances that occur when a film made for the Japanese audience is distributed internationally, including an American company under the Disney name. The Never-Ending Man is Hayao Miyazaki: the man behind Studio Ghibli, and Alpert gives us insider perspectives on the other influential men in the company Toshio Suzuki and Yasuyoshi Takuma.

This book would have been 5 stars from me but the ending seemed kind of abrupt. I wondered how or why he left the company and would’ve liked a more personalized conclusion. I was seeing the world through Steve Alpert’s eyes throughout the entire novel, but I never really felt like I knew the man speaking. Other than that, it was a really enjoyable read and I recommend to any film buff who appreciates the making and publicity of a film and would like to hear the insider’s voice of a man working in a foreign market.

I’d like to thank Stone Bridge Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Originally posted 21 May 2020

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