Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster

Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster

4.5 47
by Kristen Johnston
     
 

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“It felt like I was speeding on the Autobahn toward hell, trapped inside a DeLorean with no brakes. And even if I could somehow stop, I’d still be screwed, because there’s no way I’d ever be able to figure out how to open those insane, cocaine-designed doors.”

The two-time Emmy Award-winning actress has written her

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Overview

“It felt like I was speeding on the Autobahn toward hell, trapped inside a DeLorean with no brakes. And even if I could somehow stop, I’d still be screwed, because there’s no way I’d ever be able to figure out how to open those insane, cocaine-designed doors.”

The two-time Emmy Award-winning actress has written her first book, a surprisingly raw and triumphant memoir that is outrageous, moving, sweet, tragic, and heartbreakingly honest. GUTS is a true triumph—a memoir that manages to be as frank and revealing as Augusten Burroughs, yet as hilarious and witty as David Sedaris.

With GUTS, Johnston takes us on a journey so truthful and relatable, so remarkably fresh, it promises to stay with the reader for a long, long time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A stage actress whose most famous role was as Sally Solomon in TV’s 3rd Rock from the Sun, Johnston offers a brash, loud, expletive-peppered, unapologetic account of her manic drug-and-alcohol-infused career. Hailing from a wealthy suburb of Milwaukee, Wis., and growing to be six feet tall by the time she was 12, Johnston felt like a “freak” at her Catholic grade school, learning early on that being funny was the way to deflect nasty criticism by other kids. She took naturally to the stage, studying theater at NYU under the benevolent influence of a certain gay stage actor she refers to only as “David” (many of the details are pretty sketchy, as Johnston skates from one subject to the next). Fame suddenly struck with 3rd Rock, starring John Lithgow, along with heavy painkillers and alcohol abuse, and yo-yoing weight gain; in 2006, while doing a play in London, acute peritonitis caused extended hospitalization, surgery, and deep self-examination. In her sarcastic, self-deprecating manner (“I’m a lying, pill-popping lush” is a typical self-appraisal), Johnston re-creates her desperate hospital episode and subsequent rehab in Arizona. Coming clean, she says in her unsubtle, genuine memoir, hasn’t lifted her sense of being a freak, but it has liberated her from a lot of shame and self-destruction. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Johnston, best known for her role as Sally on the 1990s TV show 3rd Rock from the Sun, hasn't written just another celebrity memoir about drug and alcohol addiction. This is a horror story, and the title tells it all. Johnston recounts growing up the object of bullying because of her height and awkwardness, but the real story is of the two months she spent hospitalized in London for a medical emergency best described by one of her doctors: "Not one of us had ever come across anything as shocking as the condition your intestines were in, at least in someone alive. Truly, it was as if a bomb had gone off." As Johnston describes it, "My intestines ripped open." But since she candidly blames this condition on her drug use, her memoir is hardly a pity party. Johnston's dry, self-deprecating, and brutal sense of humor shines through, though some readers may find that her wise-cracking grows tedious. VERDICT In this memoir, Johnston strives to draw awareness to the importance of being proud of one's sobriety. For celebrity watchers and anyone struggling to overcome the shame of addiction.—Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Johnston, the comic actress best known for her role on 3rd Rock from the Sun, recounts the catastrophic medical crisis—and the alcohol and pill addiction that precipitated it—that led her to reevaluate her life and begin recovery. The author's voluble, bawdy prose style is immensely likable, and her rigorous honesty in recounting her lowest moments is admirable. Still, readers may question the need for another celebrity addiction memoir. Johnston herself repeatedly raises the question, lampooning the narcissistic impulse that plays a part in writing such a book, and the implied answer is that her good humor and lack of vanity encourages reader identification and distinguishes her offering from similar but more self-important works. She makes a strong case; her reminiscences of an alienated adolescence (Johnston reached her striking height of six feet early) and frustrating professional experiences are never less than amusingly candid and fleetly paced, ensuring the narrative of her nearly fatal descent into abject addiction and hard-won recovery never becomes a chore to get through, and her "best girlfriend telling it like it is" demeanor makes her struggle eminently relatable. Her descriptions of the trauma done to her digestive tract and the minimal comforts of her London hospital stay are vividly and memorably rendered, grounding her ostensibly frivolous tone in authentic pain and horror—there is surprising emotional resonance under all the jokey self-deprecation. Another celebrity drug memoir—but an honest, brave and funny one.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451635058
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
03/13/2012
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
717,266
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.68(h) x 1.03(d)

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Guts

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