Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Book 35 - The Hardcore Diaries

Book - The Hardcore Diaries
Author - Mick Foley
Year - 2008
Genre - Autobiography
Pages - 371

If you read regularly here, then you will probably notice that I do enjoy a good wrestling autobiography.  It's sort of an aim of mine to read them all - something that I should manage within a few years - and then catch them as they are released.  We have a real glut of them at the moment, with everyone from the almighty Bret Hart down to the lowly Goldust (worst.  book.  ever) having their own book, but it is only back at the beginning of this century that they really started to be released, and that was all down to this man - Mick Foley.

With the release of his first book, we had a true glimpse behind the scenes of the wrestling world for the first time.  Becoming an instant best seller, it was a book that wrestling fans lapped up, and even non wrestling fans were reading - such as my nemesis Bob, who probably receives more links to this review than any other book he read last year, despite the fact that he wasn't a fan.  Foley then followed up his first autobiography with Foley is Good, a second along the same vein, and nearly as well received.  Then a few years back, he released his third autobiography - this, The Hardcore Diaries.

I loved the first two autobiographies, and even went so far as to read the first of his fiction books due to the easy nature of his writing, and the interesting things that he had to say about the industry.  Unlike some other wrestlers who have used their autobiographies to slate other people, Foley usually had good things to say about most, and came across brilliantly.

Which is why I was so disappointed with this one.  Foley is quick to point out at the start that he doesn't feel he is another Winston Churchill, and thus doesn't have a third autobiography in him, and so instead he writes like a diary to show how he comes up with a concept and follows it through to a big pay off match - in this case a tag match pitting himself, Edge and Lita against his mentor Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer and Belluah in a hardcore match at One Night Stand.  This strikes me as a really interesting concept, but he tends to wander all over the place as he tells the story, and when you add in the flashback style chapters about other events that have taken place since his last book, it becomes pretty hard to follow.  Instead of an interesting development with some good gossip, you find that now he is not friends with almost everyone in wrestling, and is instead bitter when plans don't go his way.  Not that I am saying he is wrong to think this, but some of the likability factor goes out of Mick Foley in this tome of his autobiographies.

He also says near the beginning that he knows that we are all reading for the wrestling stories, so he will try to stick to them.  He then proceeds to spend most of the book telling us about the charitable work that he does nowadays.  I am sure that he does do a lot of this work - he is quite famed for being a generous and caring man - but as wonderful and wholesome as it is, it is really boring to read about.  We are treated to six or seven stories of ill children who Mick visits and they suddenly have their lives brightened.  I am not knocking the work, or trying to be callous, but as nice as this is, it has no place here.  I want to hear about the wrestlers that Foley knows and the gossip he can tell.  Unfortunately, most of this seems to have been used int he first book, so instead we get stories about Trish Stratus making a sandwich, and far too much of Foley telling us that he doesn't fancy the Divas (female wrestlers for any of you non-wrestling fans who have actually made it this far).  Methinks the hardcore legend doth protest to much.  Foley needed to make it cool again, but it isn't.  And he isn't by the way he keeps telling us how great he is.  "I really changed that boy's life" "It was worth it to know that I had given him the greatest day ever" "That is when rock legend Dee Snyder stopped me to say that I had made him a better person".  The more it goes on, the more frustrating it gets, and does little to endear me to a man that I previously had a lot of love for.

It isn't the worst autobiography ever - that would be Goldust's, so bad I will not link it twice in one blog - but the bar was set high, and Foley really missed it this time.  Last year his fourth autobiography came out, and, in keeping with this 'read them all' challenge, I will eventually get around to it.  I hope it is an improvement over this installation.

4/10

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