I received a free physical copy of this book from the author, Mr. Leon Acord, in exchange for an honest review.
The very first best thing that the author did was use and reference footnotes EVEN IN THE TITLE. As Matthew Lewis can tell you, I ADORE footnotes. That it just one more quirk in my nerdy little history brain. Why have just enough information, when you could have ALL OF IT? Seriously, I probably need help. But I love footnotes, so Leon and I were already off to a great start.
The author contacted me via Facebook and asked if I would care to review the book, and I knew right away this one was for me, for a few reasons:
- I love salacious gossip and drama (just you wait until you find out what a psycho sweet little Cindy Brady is)
- footnotes, already mentioned
- I dig stories about Hollywood NOT related to gossip, but to the inner-workings as well; not just the finished product but the behind-the-scenes work that goes into getting to the finished product
- I know and dearly love many fabulous men, and I am glad that we are living in a time when these men are finally allowed to be their fabulous selves without (nearly as much) fear as in earlier decades
This book is mostly hilarious, which I appreciated (seriously, she's a fucking psycho) - and a little gross, which I did not (STDs are yucky. Don't get them.)
Even though this was a quick read for me and I breezed through it within a couple days, that doesn't mean there was no content. It got stunningly deep at times, but also beautifully shallow at others and a good memoir needs both of those things, as well as everything in between. Acord is a gifted writer and for much of the book it felt like we were chatting over drinks (something I would LOVE in real life because I think Leon Acord and I could be BFFs and it would be A-MAY-ZING). He is unflinchingly honest about his highs and lows, and that is refreshing. It is not in a manipulative or "poor me" kind of way. It is matter-of-fact, this is what happened, this is what I learned, this is how I grew from that.
I mentioned previously that I love the inner-workings of Hollywood, not just the gossip parts and the red-carpet premiers, etc. There's a reason Ari and Eric were my faves on Entourage: they're the ones who got shit done. Vin had to show up, look pretty, deliver his lines, but especially early on, Ari and Eric were in charge. So, seeing all the hard work that Acord put into these projects he cared about, these labors of love, was one of the high points for me. Fundraising is awful. I hate it and it is embarrassing to basically ask people for money (which I am basically currently doing anyway, because my sweet little ballerina made one of the competition teams at her dance studio and it is expensive as hell. But she loves it and one way or another, I will find the money for it). But, it is also what you do when you love something and believe in it, and that's exactly what Acord did. I also found so many of the behind-the-scenes goings-on interesting - again not the gossipy stuff always, but just how you have to work together, interact professionally even when you are fed up with each other, and how to just completely blow your top off when YOU. HAVE. HAD. IT. There is a time and a place for everything, especially when telling off a director who just doesn't GET IT.
Acord's story does not pick up right in Hollywood though. We are first taken to his childhood in Indiana and his youth reads much like the tales of my friends who also grew up gay in the Midwest. Some are out fully and happily now, some are out but everyone who is uncomfortable with it pretends they're not, and some still have not found the right time for themselves. I can't imagine worse places growing up gay than the Midwest, except the South I guess. Ugh, half our country just sucks at being good people #SorryNotSorry
Going along for the ride was at times exhausting. There is so much rejection one has to deal with when trying to make it in show business. I don't know if I could handle that over and over, but that's the nature of the game and Acord comes through it shining because he did the things he wanted to do and developed the projects he wanted, found the funding, and brought them to life. I had previously seen ads or references to Old Dogs & New Tricks on Amazon but not watched it yet. For the life of me, I don't know why because now having viewed the first few episodes I am hooked, and only stopped watching to knock this review out of the way so I can get back to it. The show is wonderful. It is honest and heartfelt, clever and witty. It was also really cool just to see Acord shine on the screen after having read the memoir and recounting how it all came to be. So much about the show just flows so smoothly, I really like it.
I often found myself laughing and crying as I read of Acord's journey. He is so passionate, and honest, and hard-working, and compassionate, and engaging. He is someone you absolutely want to hang out with because he makes you feel like you belong. I also got pretty angry too, in reading specifically about the issue with Cindy Brady (I can't even remember her real name, not that it matters here) and her trash followers. The whole show was such a bullshit set-up anyway, and Acord was a much kinder person than I would have been, even posing for a photo before leaving. I would have straight up left, knocking shit over. But again, I am not a very nice person. Long story short, she's a terrible person and sent him all kinds of hateful shitty messages and so did some of her "fans" and fuck all, he was way calmer than I could have ever hoped to be. But, we do have to remember that trumplethinskin supports don't logic very well, so there's that hurdle also. Google the story, I'm sure her horrendous Facebook messages are out there online for people to see. What a wench.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I stayed up later than I should have, for "just one more story" which then became "just one more chapter". The writing is clever and engaging, and Acord is not afraid to lay it all out there, all the good and bad. I think there are so many great messages to take from this book: going after what you want, while staying true to yourself. Maybe where you end up is somewhere completely different than you thought you'd be, but if you find yourself happy with that, then it is all okay. There will be detours and road blocks, but finding the solution to going under, around, over, or through is worth it when you are chasing your dreams.