I wanted to read this book the moment I first learned of its existence. I'll confess, I'm not any sort of fan of wrestling but I've always been interested and respected Andre the Giant ever since I first met him as Fezzik in the Princess Bride. The little I'd learned of his life had impressed me and this did little to change that.
Drawing on source material he actually lists (Thank You!), Brown does a great job of giving us "the big picture" as Hulk Hogan explains at the beginning. He lead an amazing life but one that was made difficult and only got worse as his Acromegaly advanced.
"But people don't get it...There was never a fork or a knife...even a bed! There was never a situation where he could be comfortable. He was a seven-foot-four giant. ...
I watched when he'd walk ahead of me at teh airport. I heard people say horrible things and make fun of him. He lived in a cruel world. If you really understood what he went through and what he was all about, he was a gracious person with a kind heart. But he didn't put up with any games or chicanery. Most people don't understand the big picture."
Hulk Hogan (p. 12-13)
The book heavily leans towards his wrestling appearances, but that's understandable. They were a huge part of his life and much of what is known about Andre Roussimoff comes from his appearances and interviews with fellow wrestlers. While it's not my thing, Brown did a good job of explaining what was going on, reasons behind it (for example his health concerns), and yet not boring someone like me. I ended up enjoying those parts; well done, sir!
Yet he didn't make Andre into an angel or a...giant. Indeed, he tries to get as close to the truth and behind the myth as he could. He was no saint and the book shows the bad with the good.
What I came away with was a growing respect for an interesting man. One who probably meet Samuel Beckett, could play both the hero and the villain in wrestling (and movies), and made the most out of a difficult hand life dealt him.
Thank you, sir for some wonderful memories.