Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review - "Undisputed: How to become World Champion in 1372 Easy Steps" by Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho's second, and latest, contribution to the wrestling biography pantheon picks up exactly, and seamlessly, from where his last - A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex - left off, standing backstage, waiting for his Countdown clock to tick to zero on the Titantron, preparing to make his debut in the WWE.

I'm not going to spoil the minute details of this book along the way - lots of other reviewers include specifics, but I will simply say he describes everything from some very early missteps and the heat he managed to attract, to his work with his band Fozzy, his experience of close friend Chris Benoit's death (by his own hand after murdering his wife and son), and the birth of his twin daughters. He speaks of his mother's passing, a DUI arrest, his attempts to learn the craft of acting ... and most impressively, doesn't leave the warts out. He doesn't shy away from self-criticism, nor is he modest about patting himself on the back where deserved. He is refreshingly honest for a showbiz vet, and similarly, doesn't shy away from offering both darts and laurels to both friend and foe alike, yet being fair along the way - his opinions, while clearly representative of his own perspective, never feel completely unfair or gratuitous, and given that wrestlers are usually used to smokescreens and mirrors, there is a real feeling, much like you get from Mick Foley's first book or two and Bret Hart's book, as well as Jericho's first, of actually getting to know the real person behind the words.

Beyond which, the book is well-written! While Jericho, much like the first time around, has a ghostwriter for this tome also, the work is pure Jericho as the ghostwriter himself admits to mainly acting as an organizer and editor. He is appropriately serious where need-be, and bitingly funny most of the time. A well-spoken writer with a good sense for the appropriate emotion and a refreshingly honest point of view is always a welcomed read and I don't find the reviews speaking of this book as one of the best of all time, worthy of being compared to Mick Foley's "Have a Nice Day" as at all overblown. A must-read for all Jerichoholics and wrestling fans, and even an enoyable recommendation for those not so familiar with the business, I definitely give this book a thumbs up or two. :)


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