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I am a big fan of wrestling, and I have read previous books (novels and autobiographies ) by Mick Foley, who is a former WWE Wrestler. I enjoyed his first two Autobiographies, and his first novel, so I was excited to read his second novel, called Scooter.
Scooter is the story of a young boy, called Scooter. He is named after his fathers favourite Baseball player, Phil Ruzzuitio aka Scooter. He lives with his family in The Bronx, New York and the book is set throughout the late sixties and early 70's. Scooter lives in a small house with his Mother, Father, Grandfather and younger Sister called Patty. Scooters father is a big lover of Baseball, and this is a big part of the story, the whole book is focused on Baseball in one way or another.
The story follows Scooter and his family throughout their lifes, from when Scooter is about 4 years old. We get to see all the trials and tribulations Scooter becomes involved in, as well as the things that happen to his Sister, Mother, Grandfather and Father. His father works as a cop, and his mother is a houswife. His Grandfather is an ex fireman, who is badly burned and unable to work.
I can not tell you much more without giving the story away, but there is troubles in many aspects of their lives, from Drugs, Violence, Shootings, Injuries and Family Crisis's. It would seem Scooter is just unable to have a normal, easy life. Everything has to mess up for him, there is no happiness going on here, or at least you expect it to not have any! But things are truly a miss with this whole book!
To start with, the book is a little slow, but seems to be well written and has a good focus. You are introduced to all the main parts of information you need, but some of the parts of the beginning seem totally irrelevant to any other part of the book, and when I look back at them, they just seem like a stupid filler to add more gumph to the first chapter or two.
The book soon starts to get very information filled, and it is at this point you may get lost or confused if you are not someone who understands anything about Baseball. There is a lot of talk about Baseball games, and a lot of phrases used in and around the game, so you may not have a clue what is being talked about. Luckily I have followed some Baseball so I found this to be ok to follow, but some of it did have me a bit lost.
For the first few chapters, I found the book to ok, the story seemed to be a bit slow, but it worked and was nothing too special. It then appears that Mick took some sort of speed, as the book goes into some sort of Hyperdrive, with many problems occuring to the family all at once, most of which seem a bit far fetched and completley unreal. Someone who had these kind of problems would most certainly not react in the way Scooter and his family did.
There is not much rhyme or reason for the rest of the book, it just rambles on about things that still seem unrealistic and boring. Everything seems rushed, like nothing really gets time to happen or effect anyone, it just goes on and on with hardly a day going by inbetween the things that happen. Most people would be a bit overwhelmed with all this stuff going on in their lives, but it seems to make no difference to anyone and life just marches on with no problems. It is just unrealistic, it makes no sense.
In some parts of the book, I truly feel like it has been written by a young teenager with no real grip on reality. It is like the fantasy world of a deluded 13 year old girl who has never been out in the real world. It really makes no sense, would never happen! I am aware of course it is a fiction book, but there really should be some grip on reality surely? There is some good historical facts in the story, mostly about Baseball of course, but this in no way makes up for the terrible story and stupid amounts of bad writing.
I honestly expected a lot more out of Mick Foley, as I found his last novel to be well written, and a mostly good story. There was a few things far fetched in the last one, but this one really goes into whole other realms and I unsure on the sanity of the person who decided to publish it. I know Mick has taken a fair few shots to the head, but surely it has not messed him up this much? I really am upset with the way this book is, I expected so much better and I nearly gave up reading it half way through. I do not very often hate a book so much that I don't finish it, so I really pushed myself to finish this, as difficult as it was. Parts of this book made me angry it was that bad, and also a few things have been written wrong. A couple of parts mention something happening, but a bit later on, it states that it was something different!
I actually ended up having a rant about this terrible book to my partner, who agrees with the points I make about it. If you ever end up reading this ( I wouldn't bother! ) you will see exactly how bad the story is, how much of it makes no sense, and how much of it is just a bad teenage lie! I have never hated a book so much, I honestly wish I had never bothered to read this! I would love to give this book a zero out of five, but alas I have to give it a 1. I feel that 1 is way too much for this, but I have no lower choice.
If you really choose to still give this book a read, you can buy it on Amazon.co.uk and also on Waterstones.co.uk. I believe I paid around £5 for my copy, and I think it is the biggest waste of £5 I have ever spent. Sorry Mick, I used to have respect for you, but your "skills" as a book writer have truly failed and it is time to stop writing.
*This review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*
There are some places you don't expect to find someone with great novel writing talents. Actors, models, politicians and presenters have tried writing with varying levels of quality and success. Perhaps the most unlikely and possibly the best of them all is Mick Foley, a man who spent a long career as a WWE wrestler, which involved being hit around the head rather a lot. Despite this, or maybe because of this, he has subsequently become a very decent writer and "Scooter" is his second novel.
Scooter Reilly is a young child in 1960s New York, inheriting his unfortunate name from the former Yankees player Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto. It's a time of historical change for the country and a major change in the Bronx where Scooter and his family live. It's a time of great change for Scooter himself, as when he is four his grandfather has a nasty accident that costs him an eye. Soon after, his father and grandfather become estranged from each other after an argument and then his father steals from Scooter first his baseball playing dreams and then, after another nasty accident, his ability to walk properly.
As if his name wasn't enough to cope with, Scooter's life never seems to take the easy path. He finally finds someone who can love him, but first his mother and then her brother comes between them. He is frequently in fights, some of which he wins, but mostly not. His only solace is the grandfather he is forbidden to visit, but does anyway, and a giant McCovey baseball bat he collected in his only visit to Shea Stadium to see the Mets, New York's other baseball team. Between the two, Scooter has all the knowledge he needs to get by and is able to keep a finger on his dreams.
Considering he's not been a novelist for long, Foley's writing of character is incredible. Early in the story, where Scooter is only four, Foley portrays the naive innocence of youth perfectly and the tone and manner of his speech is perfect and allows for some very funny moments. As Scooter gets older, Foley manages to follow this as his actions and speech develop and you see him mature through the writing. Even if the dates and references to Scooter's age weren't present, you'd still be able to feel Scooter getting older.
Foley also has a good eye for a story, which is perhaps a touch less surprising, given that his wrestling career would have involved acting out storylines given to him by the WWE writers. He manages to pack Scooter's life with plenty of events, but separates them well enough that it doesn't feel too unrealistic. There is some suspension of disbelief required, but this is common in such books and it's certainly nothing that sticks out as being any different from elsewhere in the genre and Foley's writing has a touch more realism than many.
Part of the reason for this is that he doesn't neglect the mundane as so many writers do. The hours of sitting around bored with nothing much to do may be glossed over and not touched upon in much detail but they are at least present, which is rare in novels. This adds a touch more realism into a story that already had plenty. Scooter is a young man with a young man's interest; he loves baseball, he experiences young love and he's driven by pain and a desire for revenge. This makes him a character you can relate to and sympathise with a lot better than most.
Foley's grasp of writing emotion helps with this as well. After one serious incident, Scooter goes into shock and Foley's writing is descriptive enough that you can almost experience that with him. Early in the book, Foley puts across the bewilderment of youth very well and later, during the more emotional periods of Scooter's life, it's difficult not to feel some empathy with him. Foley has a rare ability to write characters and their emotions with the same skill and touch that he writes the events they are involved in.
If there is one down side to Foley's writing, it's that his character names aren't always entirely imaginative, especially his minor characters. It seems strange that someone who can create stories so effortlessly can't think up enough names to fill the story. A number of the minor characters later on in the story have names that will be familiar to anyone who has read Foley's autobiography, as they are the names of those who had an influence on his life. This isn't in itself a bad thing, but the latter part of the book is crowded with familiar names and it does seem a little lazy, especially considering the amount of invention that appears in the story. Readers who are discovering Foley as a novelist wouldn't have this issue, it will just be fans of the man who will notice it but, at this point in his writing career, I suspect they may still be the majority of his audience.
This is a book that may be sneered at by literary snobs, who don't see that a wrestler's place is on the fiction shelves. But whilst they are busy sneering, they'll be missing a decent read. In terms of writing stories of people, Foley is up there with Tawni O'Dell and Donna Milner as being an expert in the art. Foley may not use clever words and his humour can be a little juvenile at times, but he presents a slice of life with plenty of imagination and emotion. Foley is a writer who should appeal to fans of the genre and not just wrestling fans and for as little as 99 pence on eBay, "Scooter" will appeal to those who love a good value read, too.