Hollywood Park is an amazing memoir of life affected by poverty as well as the results from living in a cult. The Airborne Toxic Event front man shares his life story and how that affected the band and its music
I really enjoyed Mikel Jollett’s writing style. The book reads in terms of developmental language. That’s just a fancy way of saying that the beginning is written in a childlike manner and matures as he does. There is no pretentious look back at childhood through an adult lens, just his remembered experiences that he would reconcile later. This gives realism to each section and connects with the reader on a deeper level.
Jollett writes with honesty, not glossing over his own issues and how they impact his life. As an adult, he starts to take use those childhood experiences to be a better person. He doesn’t subscribe to the idea that his life was messed up so he didn’t have to be better. These chapters are the most intense because Jollett bears his soul and those who have battled emotional abuse will truly empathize with him and his journey to health relationships. As someone with a narcissist mom, I was brought to tears with sadness but also inspired for my own life.
Hollywood Park is accompanied by an album by the same name, a soundtrack if you will to the memoir. While they are great as separate pieces, it is hard to truly appreciate one without the other. The written and sung word becomes a dance of truth and humanity. This combination makes for an insanely moving and emotional experience. But it doesn’t end there.
This book gives readers a different perspective into The Airborne Toxic Event songs. As Jollett writes, you see “Sometime around Midnight” come to life. When you listen “to “Hell and Back”, you can see the issues with his mom you never saw before. This book transcended being just a memoir showing a boy’s pain and how he deals with as a man; it becomes an experience that affects several senses. I haven’t seen anything that married music and prose so well since The Deep.
I would recommend this memoir to fans of the group, fans of memoirs, and people who enjoy a true literary experience.