Thursday, May 20, 2010

Literati Glitterati

This is a continuing series on celebrity authors.

I have been a fan of Roddy Piper's since I was a wee lad. I followed Piper's wrestling career and I enjoyed his movies. In 2002, Piper came out with his book, In the Pit With Piper.
Robert Picarello wrote In the Pit with Piper, with Piper as a contributor. Picarello has written other wrestling books and to his credit, this book remains clearly in Piper's voice. Immediately, I am disappointed with so little coverage of Piper's young life. We all know that Piper had a rough beginning, but it is never really explained. Maybe this is intentional or maybe they decided it wasn't important. I would have liked to have read about this part of Piper's life.
Unlike a lot of big name wrestlers, Piper has kept his family out of the spotlight.
Living in Oregon, Piper's private life has been a stark contrast to his in-ring persona. I understand and can respect that, but a few more facts about his pre-wrestling life would have been interesting and helpful in understanding what helped shape Piper's mind.
Once past that, I was hooked and pretty much read the book nonstop. It is a fascinating look into Piper's wrestling career. Because the book is not under the WWE umbrella, Piper did not have to sanitize or modify anything. Piper discussed all of the obvious, like Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon. His thoughts were straight-forward and refreshing. There are stories of friendships, matches and transitions in Piper's legendary career. All of his big moments are mentioned. His matches with Greg Valentine, Hogan, Adrian Adonis and Bret Hart reveal more about Piper's mindset and inspiration.
Since the book was published in 2002, Piper's battle with lymphoma is not mentioned. Neither are his comebacks to the WWE and TNA. Therefore, I am suggesting that Piper come out with another book, part prequel and part sequel.
Aside from the thin coverage of his youth, my only complaint is that this book was too short. When I interviewed Piper in 2005, he stated that over 50% of what he had written got cut from the book. I would have loved to see what was didn't make it. I think it was a big mistake, as wrestling fans devour this stuff. Another 200 pages would have been welcome.
When you have a personality so much larger-than-life as Piper and he has experienced so much stuff, why cut so much out. In my interview, Piper talked about the honor of fighting Andre, teaching his son Colt some of life's lessons and filming a movie overseas. This stuff was fascinating and gave a real glimpse into Piper.
The book is sort of the opposite of Piper. Piper is so much more than you'd expect and better than anyone ever thought he'd be. Thew book should have been better, but still remains a good read.
Roddy Piper and me in St. Petersburg, FL-January 2005.

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