Friday, December 30, 2011

Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

By Michael Moore
New York, Grand Central Publishing, 2011
427 pages            Memoir
The Shortlist

You either love Michael Moore, or you hate him. Apparently there is no middle ground. Personally, I rather like the audacity of his point of view and the enthusiasm with which he expresses it in his documentaries. They definitely have a point of view.

His memoir Here Comes Trouble tells stories about his childhood, his career, and his family. Some of the stories are touching, some are humbling, some give a glimpse of the contrarian filmmaker he became; most show him to be a person of character and good humor. Most of all, they show him to be a product of a good family and a product of Michigan. (It should be noted here that Moore and his family still live in the Traverse City area, where one of his current projects is to run the Traverse City Film Festival.)
Luckily, Here Comes Trouble is not a sequential memoir. These are stories; the kind you might tell at a family gathering when everyone is sitting around and the adults are talking and the kids are pretending not to listen. One story tells of a neighbor boy who jumped into the Hudson River rather than let people know he was gay. Another tells about a favorite teacher who disappeared from school when her husband went missing in Vietnam. One tells about going to a night game at the Tiger Stadium shortly after the riots of the 60s when the radiator hose broke on the family car, and a black man helped get the car running again. Another tells about people clapping when they heard the news that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot. All the stories show how this boy—the son of an auto worker from a loving home with a Catholic education—became the passionate documentary filmmaker who has influenced American thought for the past 25 years.

The reviewer in the New York Times says of the book: “To remark that “Here Comes Trouble” is by far Mr. Moore’s best book isn’t extravagant praise. He’s more concise as a documentarian; like all of his books this one is shaggy and overfilled. It’s a cabbage rather than a rose, a tangy ring of bologna rather than a sirloin. Side effects may include heartburn.” 

Besides—how could you not love that little cutie on the cover in a pint-sized baseball cap on a blue and white tricycle!

Michael Moore’s website:


Netherland said...

In these series of vignettes Moore reveals unsuspected accomplishments from his early life that are astounding. Between the humor, the pathos, and the excitement of one adventure after another - meeting famous and infamous people along the way - we see how his commitment to social and political reform got its start and its encouragement from both successes and failures.

Miriam Downey said...

Thanks for the concise restatement of the book's thesis.