rating: 4 of 5 stars
I tore through this book. Like the history of Saturday Night Live called "Live from New York" this is an oral biography of Chris Farley (interestingly, in this book the "Live from New York" book takes a pretty harsh hit from someone claiming he was misquoted in the SNL history). The oral format worked for me. As Tom wrote in the introduction, Chris Farley lived the type of life where all his friends had "Chris stories."
This book, like its subject's life, is funny, revealing, touching, maddening and ultimately tragic. There is a period in Chris' life where he really had his stuff together he was on top of the world and I was unaware of that. I was not prepared to for the Chris Farley that was sober and on top of things and brightening the world around him. That high period in his life makes his ending all the more depressing. Especially since it really seemed he was going to keep his addictions down and go on to break out from the "fat guy falls down" comedy and truly make something great one day.
What surprised me was the unanimous love for Chris by everyone that is interviewed. Surely they could have found someone out there that knew Chris that thought he was a jerk? Even at his most outrageous he could still find a way to make people love him. To me, that's another tragedy of his life. He was greatly loved and it seems he really didn't see it or, if he did see it, feel he deserved it.
It's also impressive for the honesty of all those interviewed. Sure, they all loved Chris but they do not airbrush his faults. Even some of things that made him endearing could become a pain in the behind if a schtick was carried on too long. His drinking, his drug use, his rehab and the problems of and caused by his family are all addressed here. It's an honest book and in a biography, that is all that you can really hope for.
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