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The Rock Says... Hardcover – January 5, 2000
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Hot on the bleeding heels of Mankind's Have a Nice Day! comes another memoir by a bad-guy character World Wrestling Federation fans love to hate, edited by the same prose coach, the clever Jeremie Ruby-Strauss (and coauthored by Joe Layden). Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. the Rock--who calls himself "the People's Champion," affects an arched eyebrow to convey entertaining menace, and coins catch phrases like a standup comic--gives you plenty of colorful, jumbled action photos and the growling accounts of staged mayhem that made Mankind's book a bestseller. But his story is more interesting than that of Mankind, his occasional ring rival. The noisy action chapters alternate with passages of more reflective conventional autobiography: the Rock is a third-generation pro wrestler, and his book amounts to a history of the sport. His grandpa, High Chief Peter Maivia, was a Samoan important enough to be buried in Diamond Head's crater, and his dad, Rocky Johnson, was George Foreman's sparring partner and the first African American World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental champ. The Rock is candid about the battles his family faced outside the ring: the marriage-testing road lifestyle, his dad's most important win (over the bottle), and the author's own dangerous temper. There's something touching about the Rock's unpromising debut in his uncle Tonga's old trunks, in his reverence for his elders--and something scary about his reaction when he thinks people lack such respect.
What, you say? You'd rather hear about the Rock's "schmozz" (free-for-all) with Mankind, or Faarooq and the interracial Nation of Domination, or that Budweiser-popping piece of trailer trash Stone Cold Steve Austin, or the Undertaker, whose skin is "the color of bad meat"? You want to hear how he started out sleeping on a pungent mattress retrieved from a garbage dump and wound up wearing Versace shirts and chatting up Gennifer Flowers on TV at WrestleMania XIV? You crave the secrets of the Frankenstein, the Gorilla Position, Jake the Snake, and Mankind's Mandible Claw (a dirty sock he shoves down opponents' throats)? That's all here, too. Just hop in the ring--the Rock will show you around. --Tim Appelo
About the Author
In addition to his home in Miami, where he lives with his wife, Dany, The Rock has a permanent suite at Smack Down Hotel, on the corner of Know Your Role Boulevard and Jabroni Drive. He is the youngest champion in World Wrestling Federation history.
Joe Layden is a freelance magazine writer and the author of several books, including All The Rage, with Charles Haley. He lives in upstate New York, not far from the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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Don't get me wrong -- this book is *not* a masterpiece, like Foley's book. But it doesn't s#$k. In fact, it's a pretty good read. Dwayne Johnson has not done what Mick has, either in his life or in his book. What he has done is tell his own experience, his own life. And I think it's worth it to read it.
Yes, there is a big section in the middle in which he calls his own matches as The Rock speaking in the third person. But why are you all surprised? Did you think The Rock wouldn't show up?
Johnson refers to The Rock as a separate person throughout the book (as he should) because Dwayne Johnson *is not* The Rock. It's a character he plays, a skin he walks into when he works. I think that it is appropriate to give The Rock his own section because of his importance in Johnson's life. However, I do think it could have been cut in half without hurting a thing.
So here it is: The Rock starts on page 163 (Chapter 11) and Dwayne Johnson takes over again on page 227 (Chapter 14) and pretty much stays in control from there. I stuck with it and was not disappointed.
If you didn't stick, you missed Johnson's really cool rememberance of how he worked with Steve Austin to make the Wrestlemania XV match as good as they could get it and how they celebrated afterward. You missed the tribute to Owen Hart. You also missed what Dwayne Johnson thinks of The Rock as a character and a lot of his thoughts on the role of fans in his work.
Judge this book on its own merits. Johnson and his ghostwriter make a pretty good team, and the book is quite entertaining. If you can't handle as much of The Rock as Johnson dishes, skip that section. No one's twisting your arm to suffer through it, and it's very plain where it ends and where it begins.
There is quite alot of information in here about Rocky's 27 years. A great deal of emotions, feelings, and some inspiring stories. I have mixed feelings about when Dwayne turns into the Rock Character in mid-book. Its an interesting special effect when he takes on his Rock Persona in his match with Steve Austin. However, all those curse words are unnecessary. Also, I wish The Rock talked more about his relationship with the other Federation Superstars besides Steve Austin and Owen Hart. The Chapters on Austin and Hart were well done.
Overall, this is a good light read as I would not be surprised if a follow-up to this biography. The Rock is without a doubt the best dude on the stick in all of the Wrestling World and it shows as Rocky is getting offers to appear in movies and television left and right. Rock Man, there may be a day when you become the "Among The Premiere Entertainers" in all worlds one day!
He wanted to be somebody and he made it happen. I'm sure it won't go into some prestigious award but it doesn't need to that's not the point. I don't get the bother that the book goes into Rock talk. I mean the title is The Rock Says...so really it's a humorous side where he talks about wrestlers opponents or whatever. Still a good read if you like The Rock and want to read about his early struggles. I think the second autobiography will be a really good read as Dwayne Johnson matured and has stepped into Hollywood.
So if you want to get a peak into his early start then enjoy this book.