Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

Moore, Michael.  Here Comes Trouble:  Stories from My Life.  Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

Michael Moore's new memoir scored off the charts on Angela's Revolutionary Memoir Do's and Don'ts.  He had me from the introduction, and I liked his book even more than his films (most of which I found very enjoyable).

My basic guidelines for revolutionary memoirs are as follows:
** The less sex, the better narrative.  
**Humor and hope are vital.  
**Be Proud but not self-important
** Let the audience rage at injustice with you.

And Moore succeeded admirably in all these ways.   Fortunately, he never, ever asks us to contemplate his sex life.  He jokes a lot about his lack thereof, but he gets zero of his cred from bragging of sexual prowess.  

His trademark hilarity comes through on the page perhaps more effectively than in films.  These short recollections use typically self-deprecating humor to get you laughing, then thinking. His stories about early political victories (giving a speech against racism in the Elks, running for schoolboard while still a student in the local high school) show some examples of concrete actions he took in his lifetime, not the actions of celebrity and fame but ordinary actions that any of us could take.  

Moore demonstrates a modest satisfaction in his accomplishments, but the book really isn't about his career making movies.  It's about him being human and having human responses to the terrible injustices in the world.  He avoids self-importance by telling stories of friends and family members as well as those where he is the main character.  His story "Zoe," for example, about his friend who had an illegal abortion, started out humorously and focused on his affections for his friend; by the end of the story, it was tear-jearking, anger-inducing, and totally focused on Zoe's tragedy. 

This book took me right into the injustice alongside Michael Moore.  I ended the book hopeful and laughing through tears, but really really really angry at the terrible injustices that ruin lives and steal the few beautiful years God gives us on this earth. He brought me into his righteous fury at war, at lousy boyfriends, at short-sighted authority figures, and at bigotry and cruelty everywhere.  (Granted, it's not hard to bring me along into righteous fury).  I stayed up late finishing the book.  Simultaneously it left me wanting more stories from its author, and wanting to go into the fray righting wrong and rooting out injustice where it grows.  Michael Moore is a prophetic voice, and a hell of a writer.  Go find this book.  Read it.  You won't be disappointed.

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