Tuesday, August 6, 2019

TLC Book Tour: Becoming Superman

Prior to reading this book, J. Michael Straczynski was a name I had heard, but didn't associate with anything in particular. I was impressed with his Hollywood writing career that is blurbed on the book jacket, but more impressed by his life and the way he overcame a childhood that was anything but carefree and happy.


In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret.
Joe’s early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults—a con-man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized—Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father’s desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past.
To survive his abusive environment Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family’s past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder.
Straczynski’s personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life.  It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.

My Thoughts:

Despite the fact that parts of this book were hard to read- nearly unbelievable in some ways- this is also an inspirational story.  Readers know from the moment they crack this book open that Joe has somehow survived his childhood, which was marked by poverty and abuse.  This isn't the first book I've read about someone defying the odds stacked against them, but I appreciate each of them that I've read for the positive message they share with others. 

Although some of those stories have faded from my mind, Joe's, like a few others is one I will always remember.  He had so many different issues to deal with: poverty, unfit living conditions, alcoholism, mental health issues to name a few.  In the end Joe was able to find some escape in reading comics.  As a book lover and librarian I appreciated the power of the power of books in Joe's life.

This is a well-written memoir, made all that much better by the fact that Joe does survive and live the happily ever after he deserves.  

And if my review doesn't already encourage you to go pick up a copy of Becoming Superman, Joe also reveals a long-held family secret that involves a mass murder.  He certainly knows how to tell a good story!

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for a copy of Becoming Superman. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Visit the HarperCollins website for more information on purchasing a copy of Becoming Superman.

1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

Even though this isn't a book I'd normally choose for myself, all of these amazing reviews has me adding it to my library hold list! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours