Ghetto Klown by John Leguizamo

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Title: Ghetto Klown by John Leguizamo


This is an autobiographical graphic novel about John Leguizamo’s life–from his childhood through the present day.  It includes episodes from his stormy childhood days, through his varied and colorful acting career, to his marriage and family.

My thoughts:

My favorite role of John’s was as Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!  So when I saw that the library had this graphic novel about his life, I had to get it.  I was totally unprepared for what I found when I cracked it open!  It’s not for the faint of heart or those who don’t like painful honesty and plenty of potty-mouth language.

Objectionable parts aside, I really enjoyed the book.  It took me a little while to come to that conclusion, though.  After I got to the last page and closed it, I felt like I had gone through some sort of traumatic life experience and needed some time to recover and process what I had just read.  John’s life was pretty intense (often not in a good way), yet in this story he shares his heart and motivation with us.  I’m sure this was a cathartic endeavor for him–a chance to examine his life, come to terms with all of its stages, and accept it for what it is.  Without his past he wouldn’t be who he is today.  As someone who likes getting inside other peoples’ heads, this was a satisfying read for me.  It makes me thankful for my relatively uneventful (and peaceful) life.

I recommend Ghetto Klown to adults who enjoy autobiographies told in a unique way.  Just be prepared for a lot of crudeness and bad language.

Possible Objections:

  • Lots of bad language
  • Cartoon nudity
  • Sexual references & language
  • Drug use
  • Some violence
  • A few racial slurs

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…



November 9: A Novel by Colleen Hoover

November 9

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November 9 is the second book I’ve read from my Friends & Family Top Picks – Reading Challenge.  I had never heard of Colleen Hoover and had no idea what to expect of this novel.  I’m not usually a fan of popular fiction, but was willing to give it a try for the sake of a friend.  You should know that I will give away some of the plot in my review.

Fallon is the female lead in the story.  She suffered major burns in a house fire when she was sixteen and bears the scars over a good portion of the left side of her body.  Her acting career went down the tubes when her good looks became marred, and now she is just trying to figure out how to get on with her life and career.  Fallon believes that Broadway might be her ticket, so she decides to move to New York.  She meets her father at a restaurant to tell him about this new plan, but he isn’t impressed and ridicules her idea.  A stranger (Ben) from the next booth over comes to Fallon’s aid when he acts like her boyfriend and defends her dreams.  This results in a blow-up with dad and the fake couple spending the day together because they just click.

I’ll start off by saying that the premise of the book is interesting.  The main characters have a seemingly chance meeting on November 9, really hit it off, and agree to meet on November 9 for the next five years.  Interesting.  Ben is a writer and they agree that this arrangement will help provide material for his first book.  As the years go by, things become more complicated.  Ben and Fallon fall in love with each other, but feel like they need to stick to the original plan so that Ben’s book can come to fruition.  That’s the story in a nutshell, but there is a lot more to it.  I just don’t want to share all the details.

There is another line to the plot that I’m hesitant to share with you because it really brings all of the pieces together.  Suffice it to say that there is something from their past which closely links the two main characters and makes their love story seem like it was meant to be.  You’ll have to read it to find out what that “something” is.

I enjoyed the book and it kept me interested (for the most part).  I wasn’t crazy about the abundance of talk about Fallon’s body.  Yes, I get it that Ben was attracted to her, but how many times do I have to hear about her anatomy?  Some of it was also a bit crass.  I also felt there was too much swearing and that it didn’t materially add anything to the narrative.

If you’re looking for a love story with a twist and aren’t highly offended by sex or language, you might just enjoy this book.  I wouldn’t recommend it to young people because I’m a bit of a prude, but it seems like a story that is aimed at them.

Possible Objections:

  • Foul language — a fair bit of it
  • Sexually explicit descriptions and language

 Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…