The good news: It's fascinating. Kim "Howard" Johnson interviews Del and his friends, fellow performers and dozens of other associates—and the book is full of compelling (and disturbing) stories.
The bad news: If you're a nit-picker like me, there are things about the structure and the narrative that will make you a little nuts. Johnson editorializes quite a bit, which makes him come off more as fanboy than objective observer—and a switch to first-person in the last third of the book is a little jarring. What seems like an effort to include all points of view and pieces of information makes it feel more like transcription than journalism—and an attempt to tie everything back to Hamlet feels a tad manufactured.
I was Del's driver at the first Big Stinkin' Improv Festival in Austin—because everyone else was afraid of him—so I got to spend a few hours every day with him. (He liked to tell stories; I liked to listen.) We chatted on the phone a few times; he's the only person who ever guessed that my cat is named Argo for the Argo Off-Beat Room, early home to the Compass (predecessors of Second City). I got to hang out with him a little during his trips to our KC festival—and he invited me (along with Ed, Jared and our pal Jason) to see him in Picasso at the Lapin Agile in St. Louis. (We attempted a tour of his old Compass stomping grounds, and I feel damn fortunate to have been along for the ride).
I was lucky enough to hang out with Del a few times, but it'd be disingenuous to say I knew him. He told great stories, gave wonderful gifts, offered effusive compliments and only completely freaked me out once. Johnson's book made me feel like I knew him a little better...and put some stuff into much clearer context...and made me deeply grateful to Charna Halpern for helping Del become someone who was accessible to people like me.