The status quo says it's okay to watch professional wrestling these days. That it has come out of silly Saturday mornings and into primetime, that it has admitted its dubious authenticity, and that it has skewed its audience about ten years toward senility have all led to its acceptance by the adult mainstream. Certainly it isn't high art, and it is looked upon with a certain amount of disdain by many, but it has come a long way from its place first as the domain of silly old men, and then of silly little children, a transformation in which Mick Foley played no small part. Foley gave a goofy, lovable face to the WWF Attitude campaign, and his reputation for high-risk situations in the ring has made him a fan favorite in all demographics; the sales of his memoirs are proof positive.

Foley is Good is Mick Foley's second go at writing a memoir, following up his 1999 debut, Have a Nice Day! and again proving that even after a number of concussions, his mind is still (mostly) intact. I picked it up to keep me company on a transcontinental flight and, although it's rather long (the paperback comes in at 608 pages), managed to finish it between naps on the round-trip. Admittedly, I tend to devour books, but reading at that pace on 20 minutes sleep should tell you something about the quality of the writing.

I hesitate to say that Foley's sophomore outing is on par with the chart-topping Have a Nice Day!, though. For starters, his debut was absolutely action-packed; he knew that his fans craved blood and gave it to them. Having told nearly everything there was to tell about the most intense and bloody parts of his career, Foley is Good leaves only a little action and a whole lot of behind the scenes administrata. Foley does an admirable job of creating intrigue where there probably wasn't much, if any, and manages to make what were likely little spats seem like earth-shaking conflicts. A great part of this book, however, is spent talking about the process of writing the first book, so if that sounds positively soporific, you might want to skip it.

The narrative flow of Foley is Good, too, leaves something to be desired. Foley's penchant for starting on wild tangents and never coming back leads to connections between concepts rather than sequences of events. The way the anecdotes -- many of which are, admittedly, fascinating -- are interwoven creates a number of abrupt time discontinuities and the reader is often left wondering at the start of a chapter just what month or year it's supposed to be.

Finally, we cannot neglect Foley's foray into pseudo-academia, a vicious attack on some admittedly flawed research showing that "WWF Smackdown!" was the most depraved program on broadcast television. I haven't read anything more about the study, but Foley's description and criticisms make it sound more naive and riddled with flawed logic than I can possibly imagine. That such a study could be published is a miracle, so I would take Foley's interpretations with a grain of salt. Maybe a pinch. Maybe a teaspoon.

In the end, though, I enjoyed Foley is Good; it is more introspective than Have a Nice Day! and maybe more personal. Those looking for action, though, should probably steer clear, and (re-)read Foley's first book; the amount of time in Foley is Good spent writing about writing is almost disconcerting. But if you really like Mick Foley, like the way he writes, and don't mind a little disorganization, this is good beach reading. And if you think professional wrestling is a lowbrow waste of time, you can suck it.

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