McCall packs a lot into his memoir ... He provides wonderful details about these work environments and the fascinating creative people he met. He has clearly been everywhere and done everything when it comes to commercial art and satire ... With a warm, inviting voice, McCall invites us into his world and shows us the nuts and bolts of creativity. There are no complicated descriptions here, no evocations of a distance muse ... The book is threaded through with these wise and accessible insights ... a warm, humorous guide to the journey.
... affable ... With potent affection and deadpan candor, McCall chronicles the struggles of his younger self, and his bemusement at ideas he'd once thought were ingenious is charming. Though some passages about family rake over repetitive wounds, the author effectively frames them as spurs toward independence, and the narrative is rich with metaphor and allusion ... McCall unfurls his memories with a raconteur's colorful flourishes. His accounts of writing failures, including an attempt at producing a car magazine, meander with enthusiastic detail, and he brings to life the Mad Men–era advertising world via sections on his move to Detroit to write copy for Chevrolet and, later, to New York, where he wrote for Mercedes-Benz. Midcentury automotive buffs will find this history fascinating while others may skim. Only in the final chapter does McCall discuss his work as a cover artist, an affirming feat after years of pushing art to the side. The book includes the author's photos and drawings ... A leisurely diversion packed with insight and knowing panache.