Tuesday, January 8, 2013

BAJL Day 9: Book Review: Not Taco Bell Material

         Today I will be reviewing a book I literally just finished before writing this blog post. The book is Not Taco Bell Material by Adam Corolla. If you aren't familiar with Adam Corolla he was the co- host of Loveline on KROQ for many years as well as the Loveline tv show on MTV, he also co-hosted The Man Show on Comedy Central with Jimmy Kimmel, he had his own syndicated morning radio show, and now has a wildly sucessful podcast, and a show about cars on the SPEED channel. If you aren't familiar with any of this work then you should know that he isn't a very family friendly comedian. He is a little rough around the edges and is well known for his angry tirades on the radio. I was not a huge fan of his before reading this book but I definitely have a higher opinion of him now.
         The title of the book refers to a story within it that talks about how as a teenager he couldn't get a job at Taco Bell causing him to think " how terrible am I that I can't get a job at crappy Taco Bell?" (Not a direct quote, more of a summary of his point).
          So the way the book is set up, each chapter focuses around a place he was living at a certain time in his life and the chapter talks about his living conditions as well as gives amusing/insane stories that happened while he lived there. Starting with his first home, a small dump in the slums of North Hollywood with a dirt lawn that his friends called "the barn", to his current abode, a multi-million dollar house in the Hollywood Hills. The book chronicles the stages of his life, the quirkiness of his family, and has a ton of rageful tangent moments (which are offset in the book by a picture of a literal tan gent, GENIUS!).
              The book is definitely not for the faint of heart as many of the stories revolve around bathroom humor. Fart stories, peeing stories (peeing and being peed upon), and defecation stories (flinging poop and almost being force-fed fesces) abound. As one would guess many of these tales are precursed with drug and alcohol abuse (shocking!). Also, diry potty mouth words are used with reckless abandon as these tales are woven like a tapestry through the pages of this book. Beyond the potty talk/stories are tales about growing up poor, having little to no support from family or friends , and coming to grips with the reality that life cannot be one continuous frat party.
            Overall, the main theme of the book is to show you how he really started out with nothing. He had no support, no real career, no education, and yet he had the desire to do something better, nay, to BE someone better. It was pretty inspiring to read because I too am REALLY poor, have no career, no direction in my life, and to top it off have a baby on the way. Scary I know, but this book somehow gave me comfort because I have more (support of family and friends, my own apartment that isn't occupied with winos and burnouts)  than he had starting out which means I have the potential to be just as, if not more sucessfull than he is. That is a really empowering feeling that I have honestly never felt before.  I have spent much of my life being miserable because I think I have nothing when in reality I have so much more than others do.
            At the end of the book, he writes the cliche line "money doesn't buy happiness" which all poor people scoff at. But he then takes it further and says that he isn't happy because of the money he makes, he is happy because he has a wife and children whom he loves and a house that he built with his own hands. The happiness comes from seeing where you were from where you are now. The analogy he uses is that his new million dollar home is only 5-6 miles away from his crappy childhood home. But in his mind, they couldn't be any farther apart. Who he has become is due to who he was but the two could not be any farther apart. Someday, I hope to feel that same way.
           Overall, I would rate this book a 9/10 and would recommend it. The language may be foul but the message is clear. No matter where you "live" now you can always achieve that dream mansion in the hills... even if you are not Taco Bell material.

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