Friday, February 19, 2010

A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex

Author: Chris Jericho, Peter Thomas Fornatale
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Released: 10/07 

The Good
When it was revealed that Chris Jericho was releasing an autobiography at the age of 36, it seemed strange. Although he had so far had an impressive career, Jericho had never reached that top echelon that everyone thought he would when he jumped to the WWF in 1999. This book attempted to be not a memoir of a storied career, but rather a “dreams come true” story. In that sense, it fulfilled its goal. Jericho had many obstacles to overcome throughout his career and when made his highly touted debut in the WWF, his dream came true and that’s where this book ends. So, if you’re a WWF/WWE fan, you’re going to have to wait. This book talks about his world travels and does so in the most humorous and entertaining manner that a pro-wrestling autobiography has ever done. Jericho did not intend this to be solely for pro-wrestling fans and certainly not WWF/WWE fans, but it certainly helps the enjoyment if you are the former. He breaks it up into several parts: his childhood and years on the Canadian indies, Mexico, Germany, Smoky Mountain, Japan, ECW and WCW. This comprehensive career being captured makes this a great resource. And if you know people like Dr. Luther, Drew McDonald, El Dandy and Bruiser Bedlam, this book has a different level of enjoyment. Personally, this was very enjoyable. I grew up listening to the same music, loving hockey and, of course, marking out for all things pro-wrestling, so Jericho’s references to these in jokes made this a classic for me. This was a fast and addictive read that was well composed, well edited and well organized. This is inarguably a new must-have for pro-wrestling fans.

The Bad
Jericho’s decisions to omit his WWF/WWE run, leave in kind words and photos with Chris Benoit and seek out a non-WWE publisher could all be strikes against this. Ending at August 1999, leaves this open for a follow-up that could be published by the WWE, but the issue of his partnership/rivalry with Chris Benoit is a huge stumbling block to overcome if he decides to write that book. The jokes and references may not harm this, but it certainly caters to a small crowd. Although he has stated this is not just for pro-wrestling fans, it does not seem like a book that non-fans would necessarily enjoy. Perhaps, but this is definitely not as non-fan-friendly as other books. As with any autobiography, Chris Jericho could be knocked for having a big ego or being bitter about some things, but in comparison to some of his peers, he seems like Mr. Positive. Other than those few relatively mild knocks, this book is hard to fault.

The Rating: *****

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