A raw and deeply engrossing salvation story.

TREJO

MY LIFE OF CRIME, REDEMPTION, AND HOLLYWOOD

An actor’s noteworthy journey from convict to Hollywood celebrity.

As one of the most easily recognizable cinematic bad guys, Trejo (b. 1944) has made a career of being mauled and maimed across dozens of films, from Desperado to Con Air to Grindhouse to Machete. As the author shows, his real life has been as tumultuous and eventful as any action story. Raised in a large Mexican American family oozing with “macho Chicanismo,” Trejo fell under the influence of Uncle Gilbert, who mentored him in life on the streets. Gilbert taught him how to rob, box, take drugs, and pass a prison sentence. Trejo was 12 when he first tried heroin, and his battle with addiction would land him in one correctional facility after another until he eventually found himself in some of California’s most infamous prisons. From the darkest depths of incarceration, Trejo made a commitment to sobriety and began living by a mantra of service, which showed him that “everything good that’s ever happened in my life has come as the direct result of helping someone else and not expecting anything in return.” Unwavering in his pledge to remain clean and help others do the same, Trejo continues to battle with lingering challenges involving his roles as a devoted husband and loving father. The author chronicles his battles with personal demons alongside his spectacular rise to stardom and impressive success in the entertainment industry and with a Trejo’s Tacos and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts in LA. Throughout, the author expresses himself in an informal yet consistently thoughtful manner. In the collaborator’s note, co-author and fellow actor Logue writes, “Nearly everything he said was gold: wise, funny, pithy, at times, clairvoyant. I gained more insight on life in those first few days…with Danny than I had in my previous thirty-two years.”

A raw and deeply engrossing salvation story.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982150-82-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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