Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: True Strength

I’ve mentioned Kevin Sorbo’s book before, but this is my actual book review. 

Kevin Sorbo is synonymous with Hercules.  Reportedly, when people see him in public, they just want to go up and touch him.  When I told my parents that this was the book I wanted for my birthday, my mother went into a strongman pose.  If you had seen her, you would know this was a “Who are you, and where’s my real mother” sort of moment! 

I mainly know him from his Andromeda series—affectionately known as “Hercules in space.” 

I hate to shock most of you, but Kevin Sorbo suffered three strokes while he was filming Hercules.  That’s right, the man with all the muscles, who was in the habit of working out every day after filming, studying his lines for the next day’s shoot around midnight, then getting up after a few hours’ sleep to arrive early to prep for the day’s filming went through a thoroughly debilitating health crisis.  This is what his bio is mainly about. 

To say that True Strength is compelling is an understatement.  Try reading page 1, where Sorbo wakes to find himself in an ICU, in danger of bleeding out from the blood thinners meant to save his life, and not continuing.  You will want to read through this book in the minimum amount of time possible, then immediately go back and read parts over again. 

Sorbo is a remarkably humble guy, considering—everything.  He gives no credit to himself for persevering through his long, agonizing health crisis.  He gives plenty of credit to his wife, certain doctors, friends, family, etc.  So he comes off as well-grounded guy, not the typical shallow celebrity.  On the other hand, he reveals no great secrets on how to persevere through suffering—just a daily slog full of unexplained setbacks:  Bouts of dizziness, weakness, lights flashing inside his eyes, etc. 

This bio is not only about suffering, though.  Along the way, he gives amusing insights about Hollywood in general and Hercules in particular.  One clueless producer noted that Sorbo, in his trailer, had an unshaven look.  He said it was a new look for him, and a good one.  Sorbo replied that he always had an unshaven look for Hercules, and they had been filming him this way for years!  The producer stormed out of the trailer. 

A few disadvantages are that he tells his story out of order, which was disorienting more than once.  And he is open about being a Christian, but he seems to just check that off by saying he met with his pastor on a regular basis during his recovery.  And I’m sure there were more amusing stories he could tell, but he probably holds back in order to keep working in the business. 

But True Strength is a great read, and just a surprisingly different bio than you would expect from the man who was Hercules.  And don’t discount the factor of respectability, when you carry it around under your arm.  Do your parents think you read too much of that weird sort of fiction?  Remember my mother’s reaction.  And you can talk about what you’re learning about persevering through suffering.  Wow.  


patricia burroughs said...

This sounds fascinating and inspiring. I came here from WWW Wednesday and am glad I did!

Ellie Garratt said...

Space-suited one here!

Thank you for the great review. I didn't know this book existed and have just added it to my wishlist.


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