Poignant and raw

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Hollywood Park is a powerful and compelling memoir. Mikel Jollet’s extraordinary writing is raw, philosophical, and poetic. It’s not surprising that he is a successful songwriter. I liked that he wrote in in an age-appropriate voice as he takes us from a young, scared boy escaping from the Synanon cult to a frustrated, emotionally scarred teenager to a man reaching his full potential. I felt all the emotion and pain and longing throughout his difficult journey as his words poignantly drew me into his story.

He has an unusual start to his life – born and raised for his five first years in a cult where children were separated from their parents. His mother flees from the cult bringing Mikel and his brother with her. Unfortunately his mother is mentally ill and emotionally abusive. His father is an ex-con and recovering alcoholic and addict. His father becomes a stabilizing and inspirational force in Jollet’s life overcoming his mistakes. Jollet deftly details the impact of substance abuse on individuals and their families while maintaining their humanity and worth. His father and his brother are not distilled down into their addictions or past bad behavior.

Mikel Jollet’s story is an honest, raw, authentic journey from poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, and despair to hope, healing, and success. It’s a journey worth taking.