A revealing glimpse of a multifaceted entertainer who defies easy labeling.

JUST TYRUS

A MEMOIR

A professional wrestling champion and cable news personality shares his road to notoriety.

Born George Murdoch in 1973, biracial performer and political commentator Tyrus grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional home where it was “chaos all the time.” In the schoolyard, Tyrus became confused and defensive when other kids “would make fun of the color of my skin,” which made him “good with my fists.” After his parents separated, he relocated with his mother to California, where football dominated his high school and junior college years. His obsession with wrestling led him toward multiple attempts at reinvention, including becoming a club bouncer, a member of Snoop Dogg’s bodyguard team, and eventually, contracts with World Wrestling Entertainment. The author relates all of his adventures through a series of vividly memorable anecdotes. One of the most memorable stories is about Snoop’s loopy yet rewarding world tour and a particularly packed night at the club where he ejected two unruly “midgets,” one in each hand by their belt buckles, using a move he dubs “the suitcase.” Seizing opportunities as they sprouted, Tyrus capitalized on his physically imposing presence; in 2006, he made his WWE debut as a street-thug superstar named “G-rilla.” He gained immense popularity in the ring and sustained a reputation as a No. 1 contender for years. After a somewhat turbulent relationship with both global and then independent wrestling corporations, he paused for movie roles and social commentary opportunities only to return to wrestle for the National Wrestling Alliance in 2021. Throughout, the author displays his thoughtful outlook on race, from his childhood through his initial attempts at joining the WWE, when comments about his skin color dug deep. The memoir is supercharged with the kind of verve and vitality fans of the wrestling champion will savor, but Tyrus never skimps on the personal details and outspoken opinions that have made his stint on Fox News endure.

A revealing glimpse of a multifaceted entertainer who defies easy labeling.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63758-066-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Post Hill Press

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2022

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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