To be terribly honest, I was not at all anxious to re-read Foley is Good in preparation for this review, both because of its lesser content and the realization that I had no idea how I would even begin to critique it. Mick’s second autobiography could be his most meandering of all, a book that more than its brethren somehow remains fixed to a specific time and place, a literary creation that I really, really want to compare to Jaws 2. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is the Lonestar Book Review, I’m the guy that reviews wrestling literature and today we discuss Foley is Good….and the Real World is Faker than Wrestling.
I truly believe the Mick Foley pictured on the cover of Foley is Good fully expected to ride off into the sunset as one of the rare wrestling legends that retired whilst riding a creative and professional peak and live off the money from the big paychecks earned during wrestling’s most lucrative years, stretched by the combination of his legendary thriftiness and a great US economy. Hey, let’s face it, the late 1990s were an awesome time to be an American and better yet an amazing time to be an American wrestling fan. Surely the USA’s stature as an unflappable economic and political power would continue and professional wrestling would just
keep on truckin’ with its amazing run……right?
Wrong. From a national, personal, and professional prospective about 15 things happened in the early 2000s that greatly affected Foley’s life. First and fore-most a group of 19 men who disliked the United States very much hijacked four planes and commited the single deadliest terrorist attack in United States history, putting a magnifying glass on the country’s vulnerabilities and changing the course of the next decade. Whatever roaring economy was supposed to push Foley’s investments into the stratosphere withered and died as Foley
and his wife Colette welcomed two more children into the world. Mick grew older and further away from the spotlight and as his kids did the same he felt the uncomfortable transformation of a man turning from superstar to regular ol’ dad. As for the wrestling industry, the soon to be called WWE bought out its competition and then quickly started its own decline…..but without Mick Foley because that relationship was no longer very pleasant.
Knowing all that backstory means that reading anything Mick Foley circa 2001 can be a bizarre and at times slightly tragic experience. There are real complications around the corner for 2001 Foley, which makes his overall voice a little odd; essentially he’s talking with all the fulfillment, bravado, pride and paranoia that comes with being a main event wrestler without the hindsight and humility he would gain after being knocked down a peg by life. Content-wise Foley is Good (which for the record is a play on the “Foley is God!” saying fans used at the time of its writing) covers Foley’s career between his first WWE title win and the four-way title match at
Wrestlemania 2000 (approx. Jane 1999 to April 2000). All the important pieces of Foley’s post-title win are here, specifically his feud with the Rock and their infamous “I Quit” match, the Rock and Sock connection, Foley’s final
full-time feud with Triple H and especially the creation of Have a Nice Day!, Mick’s surprisingly successful first book. All the details about how Foley battled convention to publish a book that opened the floodgates for a new sub-genre of autobiography is welcomed, especially from this amateur writer and especially because of all
the rest of the stuff that fills Foley is Good.
As I said at the beginning of this review, Mick Foley is meandering. After providing years of entertainment, helping out wrestlers less fortunate than himself and authoring an incredibly important piece of wrestling literature I think he’s earned that right. However, let it be noted that this is a fairly common criticism of some of his autobiographies and I do think he went a little too far with it in this book. Sometimes the twists and turns in Foley’s thought process lead us to hilarious stories like “The Penis Suplex”, but in this book they also create lists. Yes, I said lists. As in, “Ah crap, Mick got off on a tangent and just started listing his favorite rollercoasters and christmas songs. I guess we’ll leave it in since he sold a snow-ton of books last time.” Even eleven years ago such lists would have been better suited for some kind of blog or even the WWE’s website instead of taking up pages in Foley’s book, but as it is they form fluffy little chunks of pages that are quickly ingested and
forgotten. What sticks in the mind a little longer is Foley’s epilogue, which is a whole other beast in and of itself.
Said epilogue consists of 30,000 well-researched and sourced words defending the wrestling industry and specifically the WWE against major critics like the Parents Television Council and is placed in between the main bulk of the book and an afterword or bonus chapter written about a year later that almost immediately denounces the section as being “a little overdramatic.” I would have to agree with the author’s personal
assessment; “In Defense of the World Wrestling Entertainment” does come off as overdramatic and a bit like the work of an intelligent man who felt personally attacked. In concept it should remind readers of sections of Countdown to Lockdown, where Foley discusses the serious controversies inherent in the wrestling business with a wizened and fair outlook, but in practice Foley was too aggressive in counter-attacking the people criticizing the WWE, especially since the people and organizations doing so are laughably silly. Does anyone really consider the Parents Television Council a serious threat to anything? I mean, these are the same people that protested “Spongebob Squarepants” and SNL’s “Dick in a Box” skit. It’s weird to think of the PTC as even worth paying attention to in 2012 but I guess society really did in 2000 because the WWE totally sued their asses for
defamation. The PTC ended up settling out of court, paying the WWE 3.5 million dollars (!), and publicly apologizing from blaming the WWE for the deaths of four children and straight up lying about a few other things involving advertisers. Sure enough, Foley outlines the four cases used against the WWE and explains why they’re ludicrous and while his attention to detail is admirable it’s just all too much to take in. As responsible, literate wrestling fans we all understand why the WWE is a valid form of entertainment and how it won’t
turn your children into satan-worshipping degenerates; Foley is simply preaching to the choir.
Now that I’ve spent the last couple paragraphs explaining why Mick Foley probably could have used a more opinionated editor you might be wondering whether or not I actually recommend this book at all. Well…..I do, but to a certain group of people. If you absolutely loved Have a Nice Day and want to know more about how that towering bestseller was produced or are curious as to the backstage situations behind Foley’s last couple full-time years in the business than you should definitely pick up Foley is Good. To all others I respectfully suggest that if you want your Foley fix and have your choice of books to choose any of Mick’s other autobiographies. Yes, I’m being serious. What Foley is Good is successful at retreads so much of the same ground as Have a Nice Day! that I really prefer Hardcore Diaries or Countdown to Lockdown over it simply because with them Foley is at least trying to and succeeding at doing something different. Yes, that makes Foley is Good Jaws 2 and its younger brothers Jaws 3 and 4, which probably doesn’t mean anything to you until I admit to liking Jaws 3 (or 3D) way more than I should. Do what you will with that knowledge.