Friday Review: Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski

Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to HollywoodMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. What a fascinating book. Fans of TV science fiction will know Straczynski as the creator and scriptwriter of Babylon 5 and Sense8, as well as the Ron Howard-Clint Eastwood movie, The Changeling. He has also worked in TV animation and comic books. Now, he is telling his own story. A story of a boyhood spent in poverty and fear, and how he pulled himself out of that background and built his own dream.

Straczynski grew up moving from Paterson, NJ to the west coast and back again, as his father uprooted the family to avoid creditors and worse. His father was a controlling, abusive, angry alcoholic who beat his wife and terrorized his children. The family was built on secrets, and as Straczynski began, as an adult, to unravel those secrets, the full picture of just how deep the dysfunction ran became clear. Getting out from under his father’s control wasn’t easy, but Straczynski’s talent as a writer gave him the chance he needed.

The book is deeply personal, and Straczynski doesn’t whitewash or play down any of it, including the effects his early life still have on him. It’s a look at what can be overcome, and at the cost of doing so. It’s a story of fear and anger and personal scars, but also of hope and determination and strength. The message here is that we can all overcome our own kryptonite, and become Superman. I recommend it very highly, although once you start, you may find you can’t put it down.

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The Demon’s in the Details, the third story in my urban fantasy series the Yo-Yo Files is now available.

Urban fantasy like the above not your thing? Well, I have science fiction and more traditional fantasy stories available, as well. Look here for all the deets on the above series and the rest of my published stories.