This memoir is simultaneously painful and inspiring, infuriating and full of hope, humorous and depressing. It is everything good storytelling should be, regardless of medium ... Becoming Superman chronicles the incredible highs and the shattering lows of Straczynski's career and personal life ... his book is...is an inspiring, touching look at how someone born into darkness can find the light and go on to do great things.
I don’t use the phrase unputdownable, because it’s a terrible ear-battering Frankenstein’s creature of a word. But it was awfully difficult to put JMS’ memoir down. Part of it was just that it’s compellingly written. Part is that I was hoping like crazy he’d be OK. I mean obviously we start the book knowing he lived, but his childhood is so operatically tragic that I kept waiting for him to get killed anyway ... This is not an easy book to read. I’ve vacillated between thinking it should be recommended to people who have survived abuse and trauma, because JMS is a kindred spirit, but also worrying about abuse survivors’ reactions when they read—since JMS is a damn good writer, his vivid descriptions of abuse might be triggering as hell. But as I mentioned, it’s hard to put down even at the bleakest moments because JMS is such a compelling writer.
... grandly titled but harrowing ... The book leavens the episodic structure of most autobiographies by threading a family mystery through Straczynski’s account of his horrific upbringing and his escape into superheroes and science fiction ... If this 'What Would Kal-El Do?' philosophy occasionally makes our narrator come off as self-righteous, let us just be glad that he chose to emulate a virtuous (if imaginary) outsider instead of the violent and cruel adults who populated his most impressionable years ... Straczynski revisits his eclectic resume in breezy, conversational prose ... Straczynski dishes more freely about his TV years than his film career. His accounts of quitting staff jobs when his bosses demanded changes that offended his sense of integrity make for juicy reading. He’s candid, where he can be, about the hazards — other than executive interference — that can mar a creative endeavor ... Part Hollywood how-to, part Frank McCourt-style reflection on emotional neglect and poverty, Becoming Superman is an enveloping look back at a unique career.
In Becoming Superman, he adds another title to his rambling oeuvre: memoirist. Here, in the book’s second half, he details the ins and outs, pitch meetings, rejections, and successes of the writerly life, or, as the subtitle states, his Journey From Poverty To Hollywood. None of which makes for particularly interesting storytelling ... But then there’s the first 200 or so pages, a gruesome portrait of this Average Joe artist as a young man ... a read suitable for Straczynski superfans only, wherever in this marvelous multiverse they may be.
... in JMS's new memoir, Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood, we get a look at a real-life history that is by turns horrific and terrifying, and a first-person account of superhuman perseverance and commitment to the right thing that, incredibly, leads to triumph ... His story is a beautiful parable about how luck is made ... Equally vivid is Straczynski's imposter syndrome, depicted with a brutal and commendable honesty, woven into the trauma of his family life ... Taken together, this makes for a memoir like no other, a terrifying and exhilarating ride between trauma and triumph, with stops for dark family secrets and touching acts of friendship and loyalty, commitment to principle and a love of the writerly arts. It's an incredible book.
The creator of iconic sf series Babylon 5 and Sense8 bares his soul in this raw, utterly compelling memoir ... at times shocking, at times difficult to read, and ultimately inspiring account of his determination and triumph against all odds.
... a stunning chronicle of survival ... Although [Straczynski] encourages young writers to work hard and follow their passion, the viciously competitive and capricious entertainment industry, as he portrays it, is not for the faint-hearted. Besides recalling professional challenges, Straczynski admits personal struggles resulting from emotional wounds ... Candid, often sordid, and definitely a page-turner.
... a frank memoir that’s equally harrowing and triumphant ... Though Straczynski’s anger (at his father, most notably) comes across as still raw, he balances it with heartfelt appreciations of colleagues ... He also offers tantalizing looks at behind-the-scenes creative battles ... Fans of this and other achievements in Straczynski’s career will find much to enjoy here.