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Me: by Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente Hardcover – March 1, 1999

3.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You don't need to know squat about wrestler-turned-governor Jesse (The Body) Ventura to read Keillor's book about Gov. Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente--he'll have you doubled up gasping for air, whether you like it or not. Writing in wrestle-speak unleashes Keillor's more rampageous comic impulses. He writes like Joe Bob Briggs, Ethan Coen, Hunter Thompson, and the young tall-tale-teller Mark Twain (whose characters the Duke and the Dauphin he steals).

It's not just a Twin Cities tale, either. Once young Jimmy discovers Hank Hercules's mail-order bodybuilding course, he goes from Minnesota bully magnet to globe-straddling he-man. (The book's design echoes Charles Atlas ads.) In Vietnam, Jimmy kicks commie butt with the elite Walrus Corps and meets his lifelong stalker, the V.C. turncoat the Rodent. In Alaska, Jimmy joins the IWW wrestling circuit and makes the monocled bone crusher Oberkapitan Werner Wehrmacht, Vicious Eddie with the zippered cheek, and Dave the Postal Worker look like NPR-listening wimps. Jimmy wrestles a 1,200-pound she-grizzly, and he's man enough to keep interrupting his life story to pick fights with his amanuensis ("Mr. Keillor is a tired old hack with a gecko face and thinning hair and a body like a six-foot stack of marshmallows"). Can Keillor get even? Can Jimmy outwit the Rodent? Will Schwarzenegger's Hollywood pals provoke Jimmy to revise Luther's Small Catechism to permit illegal headlocks? Get the whole stomping lowdown. (And to find out most of what Keillor knows about wrestling, read Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle.) --Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

It all started with a running gag on Keillor's radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, spoofing Minnesota's governor-elect, Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Who better than Keillor, the self-branded Minnesota boy of "Lake Wobegon" notoriety, to parody this gloriously cartoonlike political animal from his own territory? This satirical autobiography of professional wrestler Jimmy "Big Boy" Valente made a preemptive strike on Ventura's own rumored book deal, beating him to publication. As with most Keillor material, it translates more gracefully as audio than in print. Keillor's timing and delivery are specifically honed to spoken presentation, sharpened by his years doing radio (and aided in places by impersonator Russell as the voice of Valente). Born Clifford Oxnard, Valente is adopted as a child and tormented by the bullies of tough South Minneapolis. He becomes a Navy "Walrus," serving in Vietnam before returning as a 300-lb. hulk to conquer the spandex-tights world of professional wrestling. Taking a challenge from his hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he ultimately runs for political office. Despite his skill, Keillor recklessly throws himself headlong into the material and has trouble sustaining his sharpness for the durationAthe joke starts to wears thin. Based on the 1999 Viking hardcover. (Apr.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin Group; 1st edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067088796X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670887965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,210,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I about fell off my exercise machine laughing while reading this book. Since the rest of the media seems unable to accurately profile to substance of Jesse Ventura, this book fills the void in the form of fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
Every now and then, a writer discovers the perfect subject for his talents. That's the case with this book. I think Keillor must have written this book about as fast as his fingers could fly over the keyboard, because the nature of the subject matter allowed him--no, really encouraged him--to just throw caution to the winds and charge at his subject with gleeful energy. Keillor in the past has had trouble finding the right sort of persona to voice his sometimes acerbic observations on the Midwestern character. No such problem here. Like the real Jesse Ventura, Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente is a self-invented man. Like Ventura, Jimmy is a cartoon. He is much too large to be a real human being. His voice is not human. His behavior is cartoonish, over-the-top and extreme. He inhabits a world full of cartoon characters (the other professional wrestlers), all of whom stand for strange and spooky little corners of the human imagination. The "sport" of wrestling is a cartoon of good and evil, misdeeds and retribution. Jimmy Valente's war, Vietnam, was a cartoon version of an ordinary war.
In other words, everything about Jimmy Valente is bigger than life, and that gives Keillor full license to let his imagination run riot. He never had to worry about being excessively colorful or bizarre, because his subject is so cartoonish that "anything goes."
The result is a laugh riot, and clearly Keillor has no nasty agenda with respect to the extremely odd but oddly likable man who currently is his governor. One of the fun little jokes Keillor has is his inclusion of dialogue between Jimmy and his ghost-writer, Garrison Keillor. In those exchanges, Jimmy usually puts down his amanuensis with trenchant humor and a clear sense of who he is.
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Format: Hardcover
My mother gave me her copy of this book. After some rejection in a world that expects a social code to restrict their activities to people who have been properly introduced, it helps me to see the strategy of the author in schemes that save the greatest sacrilege for events that can sell raw emotion to as many viewers as possible. The Walrus theme is brilliant for demonstrating how a group can function in spite of impossible odds. You might feel odd reading this book if you never had the opportunity to come back to Vietnam after being in Cambodia, or to come back to America after being away from the trends that matter in high fashion hero worship.

This political satire is a work of fiction, but real ideas creep around in it like an infection, but it furthermore makes it easier to accept shambolic psychopathology as a context in which competing wills to subversion apply abstract negatricks to wilted two power profanities tossing the golden ball after punch.
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Format: Hardcover
Just imagine the possibility of a small percentage of the voters electing a total dolt to office in a tight three-way race. Then imagine the fool is a person who earns a pile of money by making a spectacle of himself for a living anyway. And then on top of it all, imagine that the guy has no sense of humor; and after years of taking a pounding in the squared circle has a thin skin. And further imagine he threatens to sue more critics than an angry scientologist. There's lots of fun in this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Mama don't let you babies grow up to be cowboys and if they are in Minnesota don't let them turn into wrestlers. The six foot four 300 pound terror Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente takes on the world around him. He is bigger than life but so is his world.
These tall tales, stories, and little white lies are an up and down adventure where Garrison Keillor is eye witness to a man's man world. Big Boy seems to be in the mix as his world crosses some of the toughest characters in them hills. A funny, folksy style writing that will make you giggle with the unexpectedness of it all. This book is a piece of fiction that mirror another bigger than life Wrestling Minnesotan.
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Format: Hardcover
Readers who try to judge this book with a partisan mindset will miss the point of the book entirely, and so would do well to not buy it. Others will find it a hoot, because what Keillor is satirizing is not so much one individual (as colorful as he may be) as the American political process, which has become the world's best example of performance art.
For my money, this book was worth it just for Jimmy Valente's reference to the current Supreme Court Justice as "Bill ('The Robe') Rehnquist."
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Format: Hardcover
I laughed all the way through this book. I got it because I was a fan of Jesse Ventura. The funniest thing was..I read Ventura's I ain't Got Time to Bleed...Keilor had it down perfect!!! It made it twice as funny. I'm guessing that's why some people didn't like it as much as some of Keilor's other stuff. Maybe if they read what he was mocking it would be funnier. However, I let several others read it who weren't familiar with Ventura's book and they loved it too. FREAKIN hillarious..Got me into Keilor's work.
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