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I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers

I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers

4.5 20
by Tim Madigan

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It began as another newspaper assignment, a celebrity profile of the children's television icon. But in Fred Rogers, Texas journalist Tim Madigan found more than a fascinating subject. From their first meeting in 1995, at Rogers' invitation, the two became unlikely friends, a deep and abiding relationship that lasted until Rogers' death in 2003.

In that time,


It began as another newspaper assignment, a celebrity profile of the children's television icon. But in Fred Rogers, Texas journalist Tim Madigan found more than a fascinating subject. From their first meeting in 1995, at Rogers' invitation, the two became unlikely friends, a deep and abiding relationship that lasted until Rogers' death in 2003.

In that time, Madigan found Rogers to be much more than the calm and compassionate personality of television. He was a person of unique human greatness who embodied love, compassion and wisdom his every waking moment. He was the transcendent being who guided Madigan through periods of life-threatening depression and the tragic death of a sibling and helped him heal his difficult relationship with his father.

I'm Proud of You reveals Fred Rogers as a person who deserves a place among history's greatest people. It chronicles male friendship at its finest and most powerful. And it is a book that has already brought hope and inspiration to many thousands of its readers. With this second edition, including a new afterword by the author, the inspiration continues.

"Fred comes to life in I'm Proud of You, with his simple goodness etched on every page, and his complicated greatness etched in the heart of every reader who finishes the book and decides to become a better person."-Tom Junod, writer at large for Esquire

"A loving testament to the power of friendship and to a most remarkable man." --The Boston Sunday Globe

"I'm Proud of You will connect with the same audience that loved Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie and its celebration of male mentoring and friendship." - USA Today

"A poignant, inspiring account..." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Editorial Reviews

This memoir recounts the deep eight-year friendship of young Texas newspaper journalist Tim Madigan and famed children's television host Fred Rogers (1928-2003). Their contact began with an interview assignment but developed steadily into numerous visits, letters, and emails. In Rogers, Madigan found an archetypal father, a nurturing mentor whom he could trust. I'm Proud of You takes its title from the supportive words that often concluded Rogers's letters and emails. A welcome visit back to a gentle neighborhood.
Publishers Weekly

Warning stickers should be attached to this audiobook warning people not to listen while driving or operating heavy machinery. Only Oscar the Grouch could resist weeping during this affecting tale of the unlikely friendship between children's television host Fred Rogers and Texas journalist Madigan. After writing a profile of Rogers, the two began to correspond. With Rogers's help, Madigan began to find emotional healing from old wounds and to repair broken relationships. Baskous narrates with a voice that is warm, deep and, well, neighborly. At times he slips into an inexplicable Southern accent, which fits neither the Minnesota-bred Madigan or the Pittsburgh-based Rogers, but the rich and smooth cadences of his narration bring Madigan's remembrances to life. The uplifting nature of the memoir and the satisfying tenderness of Baskous's interpretation will make this a welcome gift for anyone who has struggled with depression or loss. Simultaneous release with the Gotham hardcover (Reviews, May 15). (Oct.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Madigan, an award-winning journalist and author, found himself depressed and on the verge of a divorce in the 1990s. His deeply moving memoir examines how his friendship with Fred Rogers, otherwise known as Mister Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, helped pull him out of that depression, save his marriage, and give him a completely new perspective on life. Madigan quotes Rogers as saying that he achieved so much in school "largely because I had somebody who believed in me and wasn't afraid to say so." As a result, Rogers provided those he befriended with unconditional love and support. Madigan says that Rogers, "a person possessed of an otherworldly purity and goodness," made it possible for him to forgive and understand his own father, deal with his anger, and find peace with the sorrows of life. Although the children's television icon died in 2003, Madigan's book allows him the opportunity to teach all of us the healing nature of friendship and how important it is to tell someone you are proud of her or him. While Rogers plays an important part here, the voyage is all Madigan's. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.]-Mary E. Jones, Los Angeles P.L. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another journeyman writer details the teaching and inspiration he received at the feet of a wise and kindly mentor. Move over, Morrie and Father Joe. This time, the dispenser of sympathetic understanding is the operator of his very own eponymous TV neighborhood: the late Fred Rogers (1928-2003), whose testament is herein reverentially reported. Disciple Madigan (The Burning, 2001, etc.) is, as he reminds us a few times, a prizewinning journalist. His book takes its title from the words with which Mr. Rogers usually signed off his letters to Madigan after a missive early in their relationship in which the troubled younger man asked for this reassurance. The author is a soulful, pious man who survived marital difficulties and the death of a brother with the guidance and friendship of Rogers, who was undeniably a kindly, good man. Madigan certainly makes sure we appreciate that fundamental fact. "Because of the pitch-perfect love of his letters," he writes in a not-untypical passage, "it sometimes seemed . . . that I was corresponding with God himself. (My wife would come to believe that Fred was actually Jesus, reincarnate.)" But Rogers was by all reports an intelligent and complex man, with more to him than the "celestial font of affirmation" we find here. He deserves better than a paean larded with snippets of correspondence, extracts from Madigan's newsFor those who consider life's lessons best expressed in padded greeting cards and "the Gospel According to Elbert Hubbard."

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Tim Madigan is an award-winning newspaper journalist and the author of two critically acclaimed books; See No Evil: Blind Devotion and Bloodshed in David Koresh's Holy War and The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. He lives in Arlington, Texas.

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I'm Proud of You 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK! It kept my attention and I found myself even crying in some parts. It made me envious of this man's relationship with Mr. Rogers. It also gives you insight into a side of a man that we all grew up with, but never really knew. So many good thoughts to ponder. It left me wanting to be a better person. I have given this book to five people so far. It offers a lesson on how to live your life and never under estimate the power of being unconditionally supportive and a friend. Wow.
Mcfan97 More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read in a long time. Filled with humor and compassion, this book reflects on an accidental friendship between the author and Mr. Rogers. Will make you laugh at times, and reflect on the human experience in others. Definitely worth the time to look into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was by far the most uplifting book I have read in ages. Mr Madigan gives insight to a life well lived and how one kind word or simple statement (IPOY) can change someones world. Unlikely friendships are usually life changing. Mr. Madigan clearly shows this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That's the book. MR. Rogers was a nice guy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who knew Fred Rogers had so much to offer us "grownups?" Tim Madigan is able to peel back the covers and share his personal transformation under Mr. Rogers' influence. How lucky he was to have such a friend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I smiled. I cried. I took note of great wisdom and insight.
sudbury60 More than 1 year ago
More about the author than Mr. Rogers, the book gave me insight into the Fred Rogers our little girls loved! Wonderful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much and will read it again. Who would have thought we would continue to learn so much from Mr. Rogers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pureheart More than 1 year ago
I found Tim Madigan puts his heart all out on this book. It is a book that inspires people to realize some of the feelings we all feel, at some time or other, are so real to all of us. Tim shows how he felt about his father in this book, only to realize his father did love him and did his best as a father to show it. We all go through life with some insecure feelings about past relationships and try to improve on them, but to grow older and realize it is without any real validation that we feel this way. He also shows this in the story about his brother and going over the past and to realize there is nothing you can do to change it. But to look at the present and get on with a new beginning and forget the broken promises. Life is richer when you live in the present and not the past and to build a future with what you learn. Whether it be children, parents or spouses. He gives this with the eye opener from Mr. Fred Rogers and they befriend each other. This memoir is definitly an emotional trip. I found happiness when he met Mr. Rogers, but also, a tear jerker when he hears about his brother and learns from his father. There were tears many times when I read this book and it was nothing I thought it would be when I picked it up to read. I would and will pass this book on to my grandchildren. Because they are in their sensitive years as teenagers and it might give them answers to why things are happening to them at this time in their lives. Only a grandmother can tell them, it won't be long and they will see what is to raise a family and why parents act the way they do. But you know IPOY is a good way of making a pathway to adulthood too.
JennGrrl More than 1 year ago
First of all, I've never particularly considered myself a religious or spiritual person, but I have this feeling that had I been friends with Mr. Rogers, I would have been. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel like a better person just for having read this book. It's not very often that we meet someone that we can look at and just see the goodness emitting from their being, but I think Mr. Rogers was one of those people. This book is about a writer, Tim Madigan, and his friendship with Mr. Rogers that began after he wrote a story about him. What seemed like it would just be a nice acquaintanceship turned into a full blown friendship. I would suggest this book. We follow Tim through some tough times in his life, an almost failed marriage, and a brother that died of cancer, but through it all Mr. Rogers helps him to see the good things in life, and helps him believe that he's someone to be proud of. I found myself getting emotional during a few parts, and then wondering why I was getting so emotional, but then realizing that it's because Mr. Rogers truly understood Tim down to his soul, and understood the nature of humans and knew what each person needed that he came in contact with, and proceeded to give it to them. Anyway, read it. It's really touching. If anyone is going through a tough time, specifically, let me know if you're willing to read it. I'll lend it to you. You never know, it might help, and if nothing else, maybe it can provide some inspiration to spark some change in feeling and thinking.
jo28 More than 1 year ago
I had heard what a wonderful man Fred Rogers was in person. Now I can see why. He was someone special. His friend Tim Madigan gives insight about what friendship and love are all about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LoveMyLab More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a quick read, that is also inspiring, this is the book. This book gives the reader a first hand account of what a day in the life of Mr. Rogers was like. For some of us we only could imagine. This is an honest account of friendship, depression, loss, hope, and family.

I read this book in one sitting. Make sure you have tissues on hand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I only wish the author was as close of a friend to Mr. Rogers as Mr. Rogers was to him. That statement will probably only make sense when you read the book. Mr. Rogers was a special person and the world needs more people like him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I had no idea Fred Rogers was the caring, kind man revealed in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the 1980s, a big fan of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and I was definitely influenced by Mr. Rogers' positivity and love as a child. This book is a wonderful portrayal of a grace-filled, loving man. I also found this book to be extremely hard-warming when looking at Mr. Madigan's friendship with Mr. Rogers. 'What is it like to experience suffering with (the aid of) someone like that?' Mr. Madigan asked at a Barnes & Noble event where I saw him speak. In his book, he openly discusses his suffering and Mr. Rogers' role in his healing. It is a beautiful story of overcoming one's suffering and, as someone who has suffered tremendously recently, I gained a lot of faith and hope from this memoir. He talks openly and honestly about both the pain and the immeasurable love and beauty of the human experience, and his friendship with Mr. Rogers is a beautiful example of the connectedness of the human experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever doubted that TV's 'Mister Rogers' wasn't the same sunny personality off-screen? Here's proof that Fred Rogers was the real deal. Author Tim Madigan, working as a Texas journalist in 1995, profiled children¿s TV show legend Mister Rogers. One assignment grew into a years-long friendship. This is NOT a biography of Fred Rogers. However, ¿I¿m Proud of You¿ is an uplifting tale of how Rogers remained the same loving, supportive soul that young viewers knew. As the journalist and the PBS icon exchanged letters and e-mails, Madigan recalled he felt as if ¿I was corresponding with God himself.¿ The author entrusted the ordained Presbyterian minister-turned-TV celebrity with his closest secrets. Rogers called these Madigan¿s ¿Furies.¿ When Madigan divulged his shaky marriage in 1997, Rogers replied, ¿I would never forsake you.¿ Madigan told Rogers of his stormy relationship with a father who never seemed satisfied with him. Rogers thereafter ended every letter and e-mail with ¿IPOY--I¿m proud of you.¿ When Madigan¿s younger brother Steve was dying of cancer, Rogers reached out again. The two friends shared their love of reading with each other. Ironically, one of the books Rogers sent Madigan was ¿Tuesdays With Morrie.¿ Perhaps Fred saw parallels in their own relationship? Madigan reflects with love and gratitude his spiritual bond with Fred Rogers, and how that friendship transformed his own roles of son, husband brother and father. When Madigan penned a tribute to Fred Rogers following his 2003 death, hundreds of readers thanked him. ¿I was pleased to assure the readers that Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers were indeed one and the same, and that in real life Fred was as he appeared on television, the gentle embodiment of goodness and grace,¿ he writes. Anyone with past or present in their lives would be heartened by this book.