Giving another angle on some familiar events, this autobiography manages to deal with issues of personal crisis and faith without being overly preachy.
Clarke is perhaps best known to wrestling viewers for her love-quadrangle storyline in Dallas with Chris Adams, Steve Austin and Toni Adams, and her brief run as Lady Blossom in WCW. While the wrestling parts of the book are substantial enough to satisfy most readers, including plenty of insight into Chris’s creativity and mind for the business, it’s also very much a tale of real life behind the scenes, including Clarke being married to Steve Austin until 1999.
Ghostwritten by Bradley Craig, the book does a particularly good job of simultaneously covering Austin’s early career woes and his rise to superstardom while telling the story of he and Jeanie’s personal life. It’s a powerful reminder that even the most iconic wrestlers are real people, often with a less glamorous reality than the persona. Clarke captures the frustration of being alone running a home and the awkwardness that comes when a wrestler returns from the road and wants only to recharge their batteries rather than go out and about with their partner.
While the book is hardly a character reference for Austin (and certainly makes an interesting companion to his own autobiography), neither is it a hatchet job: the fairest description would be “warts and all”. It’s very much Clarke’s own story, for better and worse.
Much of the latter sections of the book — and indeed its inspiration — deal with her battles with drugs, including a powerful explanation of how her time on the road was still enough to drive her to self-medication even without the usual wrestler pressures of pain management and physical enhancement. She details the slow process of recovery and the role that religion played in her life (including inspiring a certain catchphrase) without shoving it down the reader’s throat.
While this isn’t necessarily a must-read for those interested solely in wrestling content, for those who are also intrigued by life stories and the effects of stardom, it’s well worth your time.
(Thanks to the author and publishers for supplying a review copy.)