NOTE: This originally appeared on New Age Mama. All disclaimers there apply.
I’ve never been a huge fan of of the genre, but Bruce Lee was always an interesting figure to me. I’m also a huge fan of behind the scenes stories, so I was interested to see what kinds of stories would be told here.
The first few chapters or so delve deep into Benn’s days working with of the masters of the Kung Fu genre. You really feel the admiration he had for Lee as he paints a vivid picture of a man who, for all his physical skill, had no idea just how powerful he really was. Through his observations of Lee and his experiences in the years after Enter the Dragon, you see just how large Lee’s impact was to people of multiple generations and cultures.
The other parts of the book give you an unflinching portrait of an ambitious man who is deeply appreciative of the varied experiences he’s had, as well as the fans who continue to meet him through repeated airings of his films.
I think the strength in the book is the fact Benn is so honest in it. He makes no apologies for being a ladies’ man, for one. He’s also very candid about his own business failings, as well as his successes. While some things in the book come down to bad luck, he also recognizes and acknowledges when his own choices led to a business failure or other issue, something that does not always happen when an actor or other personality writes their autobiography.
Another great, and sometimes depressing, aspect of the book is how he details the changes in the world. Through Benn’s eyes, you see one country degrade into a dangerous area, while another go from being cheap places to live to excessively expensive. He gives the reader a clear image of these varied places not only through words, but the pictures included.
If you’re a biography geek like me, or just love old Hollywood, you will most likely enjoy this book.