This is not your average wrestling autobiography. The rough format given to most "wrasslin' reads" is around one-third childhood, one-third arduous journey to stardom, and then the last third focusing on what happened once they reached the promised land (WWE in most cases.)
However, 'From Prison To Promise' does not follow this cookie cutter format, and goes for an entirely different approach instead. Sure, his childhood is in there, but do not go into this book expecting to learn of Booker T's WWE or even WCW days. As the title suggests, this book's central focus is on how he got away from a life of crime, cleaned up his act, and eventually got onto the path of wrestling training with his brother.
Similar to how Chris Jericho's first book ends just before he debuts in WWE, Booker T closes with having just gotten the call for a tryout at WCW, but having no idea what the future may hold.
The tale is a captivating read all the way through with its emphasis on grit, grime, and crime. From Booker T being left to fend for himself after his mother died, how he planned robbery heists across a fried chicken franchise, and, of course, his time in prison once the game was up.
These aforementioned sections are particularly interesting, offering a fascinating insight into real life crime and life behind bars.
Although some wrestling fans might be disappointed about the lack of insight into his latter-day career, this actually plays very nicely into the tale. By not reminding us that everything worked out great in the end, you are subconsciously drawn further into his story, rooting for him and hoping that something will make him turn a corner and succeed. It is a sign of good writing that he is able to convey this desolation despite us knowing full well how his life did turn out.
However, this is not to say that the tale is entirely devoid of wrestling, for his training school and early independent days do get a look in towards the end.
Alongside co-writer Andrew William Wright, the pair have done an excellent job in ensuring the writing flows, and the voice of Booker T can be heard throughout. The book is structurally sound with no noted typos or formatting errors.
Overall, I have no hesitation recommending "From Prison to Promise". You do not even need to be a wrestling fan to understand or appreciate the story told here, as anyone with the slightest interest in inspirational stories or real life crime will get a lot out of it as well.
"From Prison to Promise" approaches the wrestling autobiography genre in an entirely different way, and manages to pull it off masterfully.
+ Enthralling story that holds your attention throughout
- Lack of insight into WWE and WCW days will disappoint some fans
Written a Wrestling book you want to see featured on Smark Out Moment? Get in touch to discuss.