Deals with addiction, religious fanaticism, and abuse. But there's also loyalty, raw love, and a poetic voice that prevails throughout the horror.
Far from your standard rock autobiography, and no wonder: Jollett was born into a violent cult and overcame a chaotic youth.
An absorbing, emotional read
...an exquisitely deep and moving tale of transformation and the search for love.
Jollett was raised from childhood in a cult, brought up under the leaders of Synanon. With stunning clarity, he tells of his mother's escapes and the subsequent trials his family endured.
Dangerous, immediate and lyrical from the jump.
Hollywood Park is amazing. Mikel Jollett takes the shards of a broken childhood - imagine a life where escaping from a violent cult is somehow not a path to safety - and makes it a universal story of the struggle to find connection in a brutally beautiful world. His story zigs where you think it's going to zag, and even the most irredeemable characters somehow surprise us with their tenacity. It's a complicated story with a simple payoff: this is how the light gets in, this is how an artist gets made.
Engaging and heartbreaking. A good choice for fans of memoirs about overcoming dysfunctional childhoods like Educated and The Glass Castle.
A story of fierce love and family loyalty.
The frontman of rock band Airborne Toxic Event chronicles, in gorgeous and exacting lyricism, his harrowing coming-of-age within (and eventual escape from) the Church of Synanon, a violent religious cult.
Jollett's story serves as a potent reminder that while we cannot change the hand we're dealt, our freedom lies in what we choose to do with those cards.
A painstaking emotional accounting of a tortured youth ultimately redeemed through music, therapy, and love.
Jollett engagingly narrates his story . . . result[ing] in a shocking but contemplative memoir about the aftermath of an unhealthy upbringing.
A Gen-X This Boy's Life . . . Music and his fierce brilliance boost Jollett; a visceral urge to leave his background behind propels him to excel . . . In the end, Jollett shakes off the past to become the captain of his own soul. Hollywood Park is a triumph.
Jollett has an innate sensitivity and eye for detail. You sense that any novel he'd write would be a good one, a Denis Johnson-esque tale rife with drifters and drugs . . . He recognizes literature as what the critic Kenneth Burke called equipment for living.
A moving and often lyrical account of a fraught, precarious life.
Astonishing detail . . . precisely crafted, emotionally-sucker-punching prose.
Steeped in tenderness and cruelty, Hollywood Park is a testament to the power of imagination and storytelling in deconstructing trauma. Jollett paints an achingly honest portrait of his family in glittering, urgent prose. I felt their darkness and their poetry in my bones.