Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In the Pit with Piper - "Rowdy" Roddy Piper -- 1 Star

I need to make a confession to explain how I could have possibly finished and reviewed a book that only received (a generous) 1 star... I used to be obsessed with wrestling (or wrastlin' as some might say). Really, I used to love it. As a kid between about ages 7 and 11, I was super into it. I watched it all the time, had my own championship belt, used the figure four leg lock on my sister and even had the Hulk Hogan/Iron the Shiek sheets.. I was nuts about it.

So, when I was recently at a soon to be defunct Books-A-Million and saw Rowdy Piper's In the Pit with Piper, a book on my "Books to Read Eventually" on the right, for only $2.17, I felt obligated to buy it and check it out. I figured, Piper was a pretty awesome wrestler when I was a kid so why shouldn't those skills translate to being a great writer as well? How wrong I was.

So, the book is pretty much awful. I mean, it's really quite bad. Perhaps what was so bad about it was that it was actually kind of long. I mean, it's only 230 pages but it took me weeks to go through as it's kind of a lot of text and so INCREDIBLY boring. I really though it might be interesting. Perhaps talking about some of the famous matches, some insight into the tricks of the trade, maybe some secrets about the famous wrestlers. Nah, none of that. What I did get was the incredible amount of arrogance and ego Piper has. I also got, about 230 pages of the most unbelievably, poorly written sentences and paragraphs ever to grace the pages of an actual book. Seriously, there are grammar mistakes, a complete lack of a theme, and stories that are so disparate and unrelated you wonder how an editor or publishing house sent this out. One thing you know for sure after reading this, there was NO ghost writer. I really was hoping the stories would be better, but so many of them were the same: I wrestled hard one night, I got drunk, me and some buddy's thought it would be funny to _________, I woke up the next morning in a parking lot. Ridiculous.

The only slightly redeeming part that came out of these random thoughts we'll call a 'book' is Piper's chapter on what he dubs "The Sickness". Basically, "The Sickness" is his word to describe the addiction and passion that these wrestler's have to this sport that they love. Now, don't get me wrong, I know, as do you, that wrestling is not real; BUT, it's not totally fake either (another quick annoyance of the book, Piper would never actually say wresting is fake and tells more than few stories about beating guys up who questions wrestling's authenticity...ah, classy). What I mean by not totally fake is that these guys do take a beating. They are still hitting a mat or the ground and getting bounced around night after night (see The Wrestler if you don't know what I'm talking about). Anyway, Piper's point is that wrestlers will do anything to themselves to make sure they can wrestle. They are addicted and literal 'sick' to the point that they HAVE TO WRESTLE. This includes an incredible amount of self-medication. Specifically, alcohol and drugs. It's actually incredibly sad. There are an unbelievable number of wrestlers who have died well before they should have (Google search it) because of heart attacks, drug overdoses and suicides. Piper would argue that's all because of "The Sickness".

Overall, I can't possible recommend you read this book. However, I would recommend you watch or re-watch Wrestlemania I through V... that's some good stuff. And, if you are like me, you might even get to watch a little bit of your childhood with it (tear).

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