The writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder, and a terrible secret.
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.