on 30 August 2004
I don't review often on Amazon, but I had to make some comment on this book - because I think there's every chance a superb novel will get overlooked because of who its author is...
I confess, my hopes weren't high either (it was an impulse purchase as part of one of my regular book-splurges). A book by a guy from the great American pantomime of professional wrestling, writing a novel? Well, forget everything you may think in advance, and give it a go. This is a fantastic read from the small-town USA/coming of age/off-beat character school of literature. Think John Irving and Richard Russo, and you'll be somewhere in the right ballpark. No, honestly - trust me. Sympathetic characters, off-kilter plot, fantastically paced and plotted, and just enough weirdness.
Give it a chance, you won't be disappointed!
on 30 September 2004
I gotta be honest with you, i have never ever reviewed a book before in my life. In fact i have probably only read about 5 novels before this! But when i closed the last page in this book i wanted to tell people about this amazing novel.
It is very powerful and moving, the characters are truly believable and the story plods along at a nice pace.
There are some nice jokes to keep you amused and some true downhearted moments. If you are thinking about buying this book then you really must. And if you are not thinking about buying it then you really should.
I hope that Mick Foley will not stop at just this one book as he truly has a gift for telling a good story.
on 11 August 2004
If you have read Mick Foley's first 2 books (his autobiographies) you will have a fair idea of what to expect in the way of humour, but not in the way of content and subject matter. This book is hard to put down once you pick it up due to the way and style it is written in; which is relaxed, almost as though Mick is narrating it. It is a strange but yet wonderful tale of a young 17 boy named Tietam Brown re-living his past experiences and future endavours. The tale carries Foley's great sense of humour that was portrayed in his wrestling career and his autobiographies. This book would make a great film. If you like Foley, you'll love the book, hell, even if you don't like or even know who Mick Foley is (but still have a sense of humour) you'll love the book. Bravo Mick, I can't wait til your next book is out.
I must admit to being a fan of wrestling and particularly of Mock Foley, I have both of his autobiographies and found them to be unputdownable. However the only reason why I bought this book was for a chance to meet the author and get him to sign it for me (I would probably have got it paper back sometime, maybe).
On picking up this book I found I was quickly sucked into a very believable world that Mick has created, I was equaly shocked rivited and amused by his writing. This is not a book for the faint of heart as it will reduce you to tears of fear, frustration and anger as you get pulled into the very disturbing world of Andy Brown who lives threw some of the best and worst things that can happen to a person.
I really don't want to tell you to much about this novel as that will spoil it, I had to stop myself a couple of times from reading the epilogue half way as I just had to know how things would work out, but as this book only took me about 6 hours to read I managed to stop myself. Whilst I may have read it quickly I lived a life time doing it.
All I can say is if you want a book to make the grey matter work, the heart cry and sing I can't recomened this book highly enough. Yes it is brutal in places so be warned.
One last thing that I feel I must mention is the humour in this novel as it is fairly constant, efvery few pages I got the feeling that Andy / Mick was giving me a sly glance and wink, telling me that it was ok to cry or laugh as life is about both.
on 3 January 2007
I don't usually write book reviews, but I do like to read them AFTER having read a book, to see if I agree with the critics. Having read a few on this book, I just felt the need to defend Mick Foley and his writings, incase any innocent readers were swayed by their unfavourable reviews. Indeed, all the reviews by actual READERS have been favourable, and I feel this is more important that the 'critics'.
The critics have concentrated on the violence and sexual references in this book, to which I wish to say 'pah'. Sure there's some violence and some sex but nothing that battered my eyelids. Perhaps I'm just becoming numbed to all that kind of stuff, and I wouldn't expect my mum and dad to find this a 'good read', but it's hardly breaking boundaries of social acceptability.
The book itself was a damn good read and I read it in under a week. I felt attached the the characters and was sorry when the book ended. To me, that's a GOOD BOOK.
on 20 April 2004
Mick Foley has written two excellent autobiographial accounts about hislife in the wrestling business but his debut novel blows both those booksout of the water.
The tale of Andy Brown is a touching book whichreally shouldn't be ignored by the reading public as it's full ofinteresting surprisingly complex characters. 'Tietam Brown' is a triumphand if it was written by a former wrestler i have no doubt it would behearlded as an immediate classic.
Andy Brown is having regular teenage problems throuhout the book andalthough there seems to be a lot of mick foley tied upin Brown(that greatear joke from have a nice day is reused to great effect and a dig at hisold self in cortland) the author refuses to become the centre ofattention.
Great for wrestling fan and non-fan alike though thewrestling fan may notice one or two private jokes thrown in for theiramusement(the steak house name?).
on 10 September 2006
Everyone in my household has read this book and we all have different reading tastes. I would recommend this book to anyone - my father is 50, my brother is 20 and I am 18 (female) and we enjoyed it equally. It's funny, sad and pretty weird at times, it feels light-hearted and dark all at once and I think that's why I love it so much!
on 27 January 2015
Being a fan of Mick Foley and having read all four of Mick Foley's excellent autobiographies, I had no doubts at all about purchasing this book (kindle addition), but having just finished reading it I really wish I hadn't bothered. Strange as it may seem based on my first sentence, I actually really enjoyed the first three quarters or so of the book, but the final quarter was absolutely dire in multiple ways and totally ruined the experience of reading this book. While the book itself and the various different narratives kept my interest the outcomes and results of said narratives became increasingly more unbelievable as the book progressed and as such more frustrating. In addition various characters that had been well established in early chapters started acting and reacting in ways that were completely outwith the characteristics previously established. As a result the reactions made no real sense and since no explanation was provided for these sudden changes, the result was a totally implausible series of plot twists. I also felt that the sheer amount of times the main character would be betrayed, attacked, let down and or conned was totally unbelievable especially given the frequency in which a character would start out friendly or appear to be on the protagonists side, only to then be revealed as yet another in a long line of people who ultimately turn on the protagonist or have had an agenda of some kind from the start.
My final issue is that the book is written from the perspective of the main character looking back on his life from some point in the future, and again based on the way it's written presumably when the main character has long resolved all his various issues. Throughout the book there are various phrases and statements that clearly point to this, and as you approach the end you fully expect the various loose ends to be tied up, only for the book to just suddenly end. Since the book does end in this fashion without any real outcome of note, this also means that no follow up on any of the other characters or their fates are provided with one sole exception. If that's not a big enough metaphorical slap in the face there is also no outcome to the story of the main character and as such there is a complete disconnect as to what eventually happens to the main character that allows him to not only survive but presumably thrive and write a book.
Each of Mick Foley's four autobiographies where a fantastic, honest and insightful read and the writing style of this book was very similar so I gave it a try. I enjoyed the first three quarters of the book and was fully immersed in the various characters to the point I was prepared to overlook lesser earlier instances of some of the above issues however the last quarter was so frustrating and unfulfilling that it completely obliterated my earlier enjoyment and made me sincerely wish I hadn't read it at all. To any Mick Foley fans, leave this book and stick to the autobiographies and you won't be disappointed.
on 22 January 2015
You don't tend to hear about too many wrestlers becoming best selling authors. Although there has been a rush of wrestling biographies in the last few years, very few of them were written by the wrestlers themselves. The exception to this rule was the first, Mick Foley. His autobiographies, "Have a Nice Day" and "Foley is Good" were entirely his own work and, perhaps surprisingly, the best written and most entertaining of them all.
As he admitted in this autobiography, he has long had a desire to be a writer, dating back to his childhood. Back then, he was put off by his mother, who wouldn't allow him to use swear words in his writing. Now, with the time on his hands to chase his dream after he retired from wrestling, with the encouragement that being a New York Times No. 1 Bestseller provides and without his mother watching his language for him, Mick Foley has turned his hand to fiction. But is the pen mightier than the pile driver?
This is the story of two men named Antietam Brown, father and son. The father, known as Tietam, is an alcoholic who didn't see his son, known as Andy, for more than fifteen years. During this period, Andy was in foster homes and care homes, being routinely abused, both physically and sexually by the people he had come to love and trust. Now a teenager and living with his father for the first time, he is starting to find out about sex and, more importantly, first love.
His father, on the other hand, is something of an enigma. His past is clouded, whilst his present is full of strange behaviour. He is frequently in the company of married women, often in the midst of a bizarre sexual routine that involves nudity and a pack of playing cards. But he is also a man of many layers, most of which Andy is about to discover for the first time.
If you ever had any doubts that wrestlers could write, Mick Foley's autobiographies would have ended that. If you ever doubted that wrestlers could create, this is going to end those preconceptions. This is a beautifully crafted and told story. With any other author, you would suspect a little autobiography to have sneaked in to help the creative process along, but anyone who has read Foley's life story will know that the events depicted here are a mile away from his own childhood. That he has created such characters from nowhere and made the lives they lead as realistic as he has is credit to the author's invention.
Although the lives they lead are a little extreme, they are not so wild as to seem unreal. This seems to me to be a fairly accurate depiction of life on the wrong side of the tracks in small town America, with nothing that really jars or feels out of place. This helps you immerse yourself in Andy's life and, believe me; you're going to want to.
For this is the other part of the attraction here. The story is somehow addictive. Although the events described aren't really anything special, relative to some books, their realism and the story telling draws you in and makes you feel a part of the story. By the end, you are no longer a casual observer but a participant. I shared Andy's joys and I felt his pain and parts of the story left me with a lump in my throat. I got to the end of the book for the first time and immediately turned back to the front and started again. I couldn't help it.
The only other book that has left me feeling this way is Tawni O' Dell's "Back Roads". That is another story of a rough life in small town and written in the same simple fashion, easily readable and easy to lose yourself in. If you've read and enjoyed that story, you'll love this just as much.
If there are any criticisms that can be made, it's that wrestling does get a mention in the story. Whilst it makes sense that Mick Foley should include something of that here, it does feel like a bit of a sop to the wrestling fans who would be the most likely buyers of this book, having seen the author's name on the cover. However, for those who don't know this is what he did before he was a writer, it does fit in with the rest of the story and doesn't stick out as much. The other problem is that, especially in the early part of the book, it does feel like Mick Foley himself is the narrator, as the style and the humour is much like Foley's, as showcased in his autobiographies. If you're new to the author, though, this won't be something you'll realise and to be fair to Foley, as you get further into the story, Andy Brown does come more into his own and sound like a person in his own right, rather than a part of Mick Foley.
For those who enjoy a gritty reality in their reading material, as so infrequently seen in a modern literary scene that seems to consist mostly of vacuous chick-lit, this is a huge breath of fresh air. For those who enjoy reading for pleasure, as opposed to just something to pass the time, this is as pleasurable and emotional an experience as you're likely to find. For someone who likes to read for escapism and to step out of their own life and into someone else's, this is a doorway.
I read it twice in quick succession and I know that I will be reading it over and over again in the future. It's always wonderful to see a fresh voice in modern fiction, especially when it's one this good. After years of inflicting physical pain on opponents, Foley has discovered the art of inflicting emotional suffering on his readers and I suspect he may prove as successful in his new career as he was in the old.
This review may also appear under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
on 12 February 2014
I'm not really much of a reader of fiction, and usually prefer autobiographical works, which is how I came upon the title of this book.
Having read all four autobiographical volumes by Mick Foley, I was curious enough about the references to 'Tietam Brown' to warrant my reading of a few reviews, and having spotted it for a reasonable price on the Kindle store, decided to give it a try.
Anyone who has read his 'wrestling books' will recognise the style immediately, especially the humour, and it is obvious that Foley has drawn on several references from his own life in terms the places mentioned in the story. Andy Browns character seems to reflect some of Foley's own growing pains through adolescence too. There is certainly enough that will be familiar for those wrestling fans who are interested in Foley's debut novel.
Whilst some have called the characters shallow, I think this is more to do with how quickly the story 'gets into its stride' - it is remarkably easy to understand why each character does what they do. The plot requires the use of your memory in parts, with the narrative switching from past to present, but doing this seems apt, and gives the feeling that you are listening to the memoirs of Andy, rather than simply being told about him and his life so far.
There are parts of the book which are shocking, and even quite dark in places, but there are also moments of humour and hope. The sexual 'scenes', whilst funny and somewhat disturbing in equal measure, are quite explicit though, and some tough themes are dealt with.
I read the book in the course of one night, over two reading sessions. Having read the first few chapters, I found myself wondering what was going to happen, sharing the hopes of Andy, and a growing impatience at having had to put down my Kindle to charge the battery.
I would recommend that anybody at least give this book a try - there is certainly no reason not to read the sample chapter. Be prepared for some parts that are difficult to read (in terms of the issues and situations dealt with, not because of poor writing) and the odd, unpleasant twist along the way. I expect the vast majority will not be disappointed when they have finished the book.