2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

REVIEW for Gladiator

A huge thank you goes out to author Dan Clark for sending me his excellent book!!!!

TITLE: Gladiator

AUTHOR: Dan Clark

GENRE: Memoir

RATING: 4 Stars

In full disclosure mode, I have to say that I had never heard of Dan Clark before - not being a Gladiator fan in the least. However, a few weeks ago, I received an email from someone named Dan Clark who wrote me an absolutely wonderful email asking if I would consider reading his book.

As a book reviewer, I have become quite picky about which books I read, only because I receive quite alot of requests and want to make sure that I can give each book my total and complete attention. After reading his email, I want to the Amazon site and checked out his book. My first reaction was YIKES! a Gladiator???? I was also not fond of the book's cover - but Clark's thoughful email kept coming back to me and I decided "what the heck - this book is either going to be a little gem or a piece of fluff".

So, I went ahead and read it. Let me start off by saying that this book definitely fell into the "little gem" category. I always know I am going to love a book when I start reading it and I can't put it down - in fact, it took me all of two days to read this one because I kept saying "just one more page".

For those looking for "fluff or the seedier side" of this author's life - you will also be rewarded in this book - Clark does not shy away from describing his life as first a football player - trying to play with the big boys, but never succeeding and yet, behaving like he was. Ah the girls, so many girls. He then goes into quite a lot of detail about his life as a Gladiator and how much he loved it (more sex and more drugs and all that "perceived" power). Having said all of that, this book goes way beyond all of the gloss and glamour of Clark's professional life.

This memoir is about a man who struggled from a very young age to accept himself and who spent the better part of his life looking outwards for the thing (or people) that would make him happy and whole. From the death of his brother, at a young age - which ended up marking Clark deeply (and this only becomes obvious to the reader as Clark spirals more and more into his addictions) to his almost complete lack of interest in the birth of his son - this memoir is deeply honest and sometimes scary.

At many points during the reading of this book, I found myself disliking this man - and trying to reconcile the man who lived this life to the man who sounded so genuine in his email to me. However, as I kept reading, I felt more and more the deep pain and confusion Clark was experiencing. During the entire narration of his story (the good, the bad and the ugly) Clark states it like it is - never apologizing but also never boasting about his choices (and he has made a few bad ones).

It seems to me that this guy just had an automatic sensor for the biggest mess - he had a way of finding the absolute most horrible scenario for himself and then just jumping in with both feet. I found his fascination and obsession with his little action figure to be so sad - and very telling of just how much pain this man was in.

I also cried when he talks about his need to get off the drugs and his constant wondering at "how did I get to be this person?". However, I also thought it amazing that throughout Clark's darkest moments, he somehow always had a little bit of a voice of reason, somewhere hidden in the back of his brain - this is, no doubt, the voice that saved him!

This memoir is disturbing and raw and I loved every moment of it. I applaud Clark for his honesty and for telling us that although he is trying to find the right path, he is far from having all the answers.

This book is well written and I was proud to see just how far he has come from those days as "Nitro". As a matter of act, I think that Clark should be very proud of himself - he has managed to get off the drugs, reconnect with his son and find some spiritual and internal strength to be the person he wants to be. Yet, if it weren't for all his past experiences, including his alter-ego Nitro, Clark would not be the person that he is today.

I suggest this book for anyone who wants to read an inspiring story - I loved it.

Speaking of the horrible cover - after reading the book it occured to me that the front cover was a perfect cover after all - it shows Clark as the person he was then with the back cover showing him as he now is - much better back cover - kind of a nice relationshp between the two covers and the progression Dan has been making in his life.


Meg89 said...

I don't know about the cover... but you actually make me want to read this (I tend to read very little in memoir category). Thanks for the review!

Wall-to-wall books said...

Wow! He's hot! I'd buy the book just to look at the back!

Tina said...

I had to laugh Wendy! I thought the same thing when I saw the cover. He is very good looking. The thing is - although he has really made great progress in his life (in my opinion) - I think he is still a little bit too much of a bad boy for me - and we ALLLLLLL know that those are really bad for usssssss!!!! unfortunately.

cindysloveofbooks said...

Tina great review. I remember you talking about this book at the last meet up and finally seeing the cover I recognize him now.

What do you mean bad boys are bad for us? LOL

bermudaonion said...

I'm not an American Gladiator fan, but I do know who Nitro is. I didn't know his real name is Dan Clark, though. Glad you enjoyed the book.

Meljprincess said...

Will Dan visit the blog for questions?

Mel K.

Tina said...

Hi Mel: Good question. I will email him and ask him.

Meljprincess said...

Did you e-mail him, Tina? Did he reply? Thanks.

Mel K.

Cheryl said...

Sounds like a book I will have to check out. I grew up watching the gladiators.

I remember Nitro, Ice, Jazz, and all the rest of the gladiators

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the My Time kit by Studio Thaty Borges