Retired WWE champion AJ Mendez Brooks has written a book that is less about her WWE career and much more about her dysfunctional childhood/adolescence. Like her mother, AJ was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of eighteen. She relates a depressingly sad story of poverty, abuse and neglect, yet manages to do it with much snark and humor.
The main focus of this book is AJ’s troubled childhood. And troubled, it was. I grew increasingly furious with her selfish, immature parents, and what they had subjected their three children to. Having had the misfortune to endure a similar childhood myself, I could certainly empathize. I liked that AJ took her troubles and, rather than turning them inward, she worked hard to achieve what she had set out to do at the tender age of twelve.
I wish the author had toned down the humor and snark several notches. She spent too much time cracking jokes and rambling on about various things that were not quite pertinent to the story. The book does become repetitive after a while. Readers are hit over the head repeatedly hearing about how tough AJ was and is, and how awful her childhood was. Too much is sometimes not a great thing and this is the case with this book.
There was one minor thing I’m confused about. Her bio (at the end of the book) states that she “studied film and television production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts before they politely asked her to go away.” Yet, she talks specifically about her inability to continue paying tuition and having to drop out. Clearly not the same and clearly another attempt to inject humor where none was really necessary.
Overall, this is a good book if you look at it as a success story – a young girl who worked hard, stayed strong and against all odds managed to accomplish what she set out to do. I like to think this was AJ’s intention. I could have definitely done without the slapstick comedy and I’m-a-big-tough-girl routines, however.
4 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton