Book Review – John Travolta, Back in Character
By Wensley Clarkson
So I got to run into Mr Clarkson again, I reviewed his biography of Quentin Tarantino about 18mths ago and while I thought that was a well written book this one didn’t have the same punch to it but was engrossing nevertheless.
Travolta will go down as one of the true greats in popular culture although there will be arguments around just how good, and why he is and this book does well to bring up those same arguments while giving suitable facts in why.
Personally I am a pretty big fan of Travolta but while I had seen Saturday Night Fever and Grease it wasnt until his uber-cool appearance in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (which has some very good coverage) where I really started to appreciate the talents the world saw and he himself always believed he had. And this book does have a great deal of relevant material from his early childhood and bringing up.
But it is in these early chapters especially that were hardest to follow and the main criticism of his writing. It jumped back and forth between years as he seemed to try to follow a path of topic rather than chronological order which did carry on later in the book but not so hard to follow as Travolta’s life was better known to this reader and was easier to picture.
But for nothing else this book is a very good read for anyone who doesn’t know the man, the actor, or the phenomenon that is JT, and with good quotes from family and friends it provides a real understanding, and emotional attachment to him in all respects – you can’t help but think that maybe most “sources” are second-hand and have been copied from other mediums making this read more a resource collection rather than a true biography. It does have some good photos that come from all aspects of his life.
Overall, more because of the subject matter rather than any real great writing this is worth a look whether or not you are a Travolta fan.
And for good measure, the trailer to my favourite JT movie…