BOOK REVIEW – And Nothing But the Truthiness: The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert by Lisa Rogak

11167400And Nothing But the Truthiness: The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert
by Lisa Rogak

This book was a fortunate little find for me when I first got it – I had left a comment on a G+ discussion thread started by the good folks at The Colbert Report (this was back when some folks still held hope for G+ to actually become a thing!) and the next thing I knew, my comment had been selected a winner and I was shipped a complementary copy of this book!
Imagine my glee at that moment! Not only had I won a contest, but it was a BOOK and the icing on the cake was that it was the biography of one of my favourite comedians and commentators of all time: Stephen Colbert.
Finally the book arrived and I dove into it with gusto! It started of nice and simple, describing Stephens childhood and his huge family and his part in it as the youngest of eleven kids and was pretty pleasant – but maybe it was the lackluster style of the author, but as his childhood stories progressed, I actually found myself drifting off the page. Now the stories were fine, I didn’t find anything boring in them per-se, plus childhood tales can often be engaging just by being simple and reminiscent of our own childhoods.
Clearly, the big flaw at this juncture and through most of the book was the writing.
In Colbert, you have one of the most interesting characters and performers in current American pop-culture (and for many years prior) with a hell of a reputation as a comedic-political-commentator with a very unique brand of humour. He has almost a cult-following amongst some fans who swear by his style and approach to the news and politics and with words like “truthiness” entering the lexicon (amongst other things) thanks to him, there is a lot that this book could and should have done.
Instead, we got a watered-down, uninteresting look at his whole life. It read like a school student writing a report on a famous figure – possibly even one that they knew but didn’t care for all that much. There was nothing but factual reporting (and even that seemed overly simplistic at points) and random quotes/anecdotal stories and the result was that even things that could and should have been interesting ended up being ho-hum at best.
Nowhere did we get to really explore the evolution of the performer or the development of the charismatic character(/version of himself) that he is most famous for portraying on TV and it feels like there was little to no real input from the man himself, because if there was, there was not a whit of cleverness to any of it OR there was perhaps but it was again brought down to a student level when transcribed and mixed with the rest.
Good I suppose for hardcore fans who want to know more about Mr. Colbert, but a painful book to read due to genuinely poor writing that I can’t believe was released as-is and officially approved by the subject in any way. Truth be told, if someone wrote a book about me this dull, I would either outright reject it (as politely as possible) and/or start seriously look back at my life and assess if it really was this sad and dull.
Whatever points I give the book are because of the subject matter and a few good bits here and there but I do not recommend this to anyone but the most ardent fan.

SCORE: 2.5 / 5


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