Jun 23, 2021
Living the Gimmick
Posted by Ben Peller

From the time he was able to body slam a pillow, Michael dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler, vanquishing imaginary enemies and nagging self doubt with every drop kick he landed As his buddies hit the books, Michael got hit When they left for college, he enrolled in Shane Stratford s Wrestling Academy, where cash and a particularly punishing audition affoFrom the time he was able to body slam a pillow, Michael dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler, vanquishing imaginary enemies and nagging self doubt with every drop kick he landed As his buddies hit the books, Michael got hit When they left for college, he enrolled in Shane Stratford s Wrestling Academy, where cash and a particularly punishing audition afforded him a first look into a world part circus, part sport, and all spectacle From penny ante matches to national notoriety, Michael rises through the ranks of professional wrestling Hopped up on speed, pumped up on steroids, and fueled by a frustration he can t quite name, he adopts and discards identities in a bid to find the gimmick that will make him complete His search will bring him in contact with people weird and wonderful athletes and actors, crazy fans and crooked managers, the full rich range of folks who revel in the ring.Combining elements of sports narrative a la North Dallas 40, the behind the scenes authenticity of Pumping Iron, and a flair for the bizarre that recalls John Irving, Living the Gimmick is a novel not soon forgotten.

  • Title: Living the Gimmick
  • Author: Ben Peller
  • ISBN: 9780759550049
  • Page: 337
  • Format: Paperback
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    Living the Gimmick From the time he was able to body slam a pillow Michael dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler vanquishing imaginary enemies and nagging self doubt with every drop kick he landed As his buddies


    Finally got a chance to finish this book I was blown away A really fantastic book not only about pro wrestling but also about a young person coming into himself Michael Harding is an intriguing protagonist and his journey through the world of professional wrestling brings to mind Astrid s journey in WHITE OLEANDER which I m now going to reread Also have to reread Peller s TO LIVE AND DRINK IN L.A and TO LIVE AND LOVE IN L.A Ahh so many books, so little precious time Read and live on

    Amy Gardner

    This book takes us back to when it was still debatable whether pro wrestling was real or not It s all too real for Michael Harding, the protagonist of this book, as he navigates his way through a world of wild characters in a quest to find the most elusive character of all himself Very well written and thoughtful Made me proud to be an admirer of what this book terms a brutal ballet Great work, Ben Peller.

    Carly C

    Though a work of fiction, this ranks up there with autobiographies by wrestlers like Mick Foley and Chris Jericho Ben Peller has obviously had experience in the unpredictable world of professional wrestling, and this book delves into the sport in a way no autobiography I ve read has touched I don t think Peller s in the business any , so he has nothing to lose Even if you re not a fan of pro wrestling, chances are you ll appreciate this book s gripping style.

    Gordon Williams

    This book sends the reader into the wild world of professional wrestling Kind of like a THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, with all the humor and twists and plot turns along the way Michael Harding, the protagonist, is a truly unique character, just as this is truly a one of a kind tale Pro wrestling fan or not, this makes for great reading.


    This novel made me look at the world of pro wrestling in a way I never thought I would It s a world full of not just characters, but human beings I don t follow the WWE Universe, but Michael Harding s journey from a young man who s searching for a father figure to a man who can stand on his own and be who he truly is is a tale well worth reading.


    Being a fan of Peller s other books, I wanted to read this work as well I found the story engrossing and actually quite universal and even though wrestling is an alien world to me, it is ultimately revealed to be theatre in the grandest way Great story Moving and compelling, I recommend it wholeheartedly


    After enjoying To Live and Drink In L.A so much, I wanted to check out Mr Peller s first novel This story about Michael Harding pursuing his dream of becoming a pro wrestler surprised me a bit it was both funny and touching I don t follow pro wrestling, but this coming of age tale had me thoroughly enthralled Great job

    Cindy C

    A great look into a world I wasn t all that familiar with, professional wrestling As Ben Peller s To Live and Drink In L.A opened up corners of Los Angeles, this book opens up the nooks and crannies of a sport that many mock but few understand The writing and the characters are equally colorful.

    Priscilla Borne

    In a belated shout out to the 1000th Monday Night Raw, thought I d say this is the best written book about the wild and often misunderstood world of professional wrestling Ben Peller weaves a great tale about a young man trying to find himself in a profession that so often drifts between the twilight of fiction and reality Well done.


    Best novel about pro wrestling ever Ben Peller writes with an acute accuracy that chronicles his protagonist s journey through this truly bizarre sports entertainment world A solid coming of age novel.


    Just finished this last night A GREAT book I m not a huge pro wrestling fan, but you don t have to be one to enjoy this coming of age tale about a young man finding his way in an unusual world, where things are not always as they seem.


    As Mick Foley s Have a Nice Day is the best pro wrestling autobiography in my opinion , then Ben Peller s Living the Gimmick is the best pro wrestling novel It combines a coming of age story with the wild world of professional wrestling The result is a great story with plenty of twists.

    Christie Cal

    I really enjoyed this book Not much of a pro wrestling fan, but I enjoyed Ben Peller s other work, so I thought I d give this a go I wasn t disappointed He really offers a unique look into this wild world The story veers a bit out there, particularly toward the end, but I d still recommend it


    Best book about pro wrestling I ve read Like the art of professional wrestling itself, this book blurs the line between fiction and reality Any reader, pro wrestling fan or not, will enjoy it.

    David Goal

    An awesome book that delves into the world of professional wrestling in a way that many autobiographies don t This book combines fiction and some autobiographical material to create a truly startling look at not only pro wrestling but a young person s search for self.

    Patricia Wilder

    Can t believe I read a book about pro wrestling it s an impressive art form, but usually not my style But I m a fan of Ben Peller s, and this book did not disappoint A great look into a world I was not familiar with Isn t that why we all read


    I met this guy in Los Angeles last weekend and he told me if I read his book he would drive to Petaluma, autograph the book for me, and then do me Ha I told him he is a big whore, but the book looks interesting so I m going to read it anyway.


    Read this after I finished To Live and Drink In L.A I enjoyed it, not quite as much as To Live and Drink, but it was still a cool read.

    Tracy Love

    Best professional wrestling novel Ever.


    Great novel about a world many tend to not understand This book takes you there, and shows you how awesome, amazing, and sometimes heartbreaking, professional wrestling can be Kudos, Mr Peller


    saw this book and i just had to read it had some flaws but it was just a fun read great job to the author

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