Sunday, 17 April 2016

BOOK REVIEW: CHRIS JERICHO - BEST IN THE WORLD (AT WHAT I HAVE NO IDEA)

I began my recent review of Chris Jericho's first book,  A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex, by noting how my main motivation for picking up a book I'd read several times over was to prime me ready for delving into his most recent tome, Best in the World (At What I have no Idea). 

Reading both back to back, what struck me the most was just how different the two memoirs are in almost every conceivable way. Sure, Jericho's trademark wit was there in abundance on every page, and sure it was still an enjoyable read for the most part, but beyond that, if you didn't know it to begin with, you'd be forgiven for thinking the books were written by two entirely different people.

Look, I get it. A Lion's Tale is a story about a young kid chasing his dreams and overcoming every obstacle hurled in his past to do so. Best in the World is about a man who achieved his dreams and is now living the high life as a famous Superstar. The man born Chris Irvine leads a much different life today than the one he describes in his first book, so it's not going to be the same kind of story, but there was more to it than that.

As a fan of wrestling, rock 'n' roll, and generally of anybody who chases their dreams and eventually catches them, I have nothing but respect and admiration for Chris Jericho, but reading Best in the World, I did find myself questioning whether or not I should. There was just something about Jericho's book that made me feel uncomfortable, and it was only when I got half way through that I realised what that something was.

The one thing that had made A Lion's Tale such a captivating, deeply engaging book was sorely lacking in Best in the World; that one thing was a simple word called humility.

That first book is my favourite wrestling memoir ever (and yes, that include's Foley's), partly because it was so easy to get behind the young dream-chaser as he made mistakes, learned lessons and kept pushing to make it to the big time no matter what happened. The Chris Jericho in that story was easy to relate to, the kind of guy you want to get behind, root for, and cheer for when he finally makes it to the promised land.

The Chris Jericho I've just spent reading about -and as a big fan of his it pains me to say this- came across as something of prima donna not opposed to throwing a tantrum or two to get his own way.

In a way, I kind of bizarrely admire that, a man who won't take no for an answer and will do all he can to succeed, but there were times in reading this book that I found it really hard to like the guy I was reading about, and that was disappointing.

Sure, some of the anecdotes were insightful (and that's all this book feels like, a collection of anecdotes Jericho wrote down whenever they happened to occur to him), and there were still a few belly laughs to be had, but the Chris Jericho in this book is -sadly- not the Chris Jericho I became a huge fan of years ago.


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