REVIEW by Jena: Tough Sh*t: Life Advice From a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith (@ThatKevinSmith)

That Kevin Smith? The guy who did “Clerks” a million years ago? Didn’t they bounce his fat ass off a plane once? What could you possibly learn from the director of “Cop Out”? How about this: he changed filmmaking forever when he was twenty-three, and since then, he’s done whatever the hell he wants. He makes movies, writes comics, owns a store, and now he’s built a podcasting empire with his friends and family, including a wife who’s way out of his league. So here’s some tough shit: Kevin Smith has cracked the code.  Or, he’s just cracked.
(synopsis cont’d)
Tough Sh*t is the dirty business that Kevin has been digesting for 41 years and now, he’s ready to put it in your hands. Smear this shit all over yourself, because this is your blueprint (or brownprint) for success. Kev takes you through some big moments in his life to help you live your days in as Gretzky a fashion as you can: going where the puck is gonna be. Read all about how a zero like Smith managed to make ten movies with no discernible talent, and how when he had everything he thought he’d ever want, he decided to blow up his own career. Along the way, Kev shares stories about folks who inspired him (like George Carlin), folks who befuddled him (like Bruce Willis), and folks who let him jerk off onto their legs (like his beloved wife, Jen).

So make this your daily reader. Hell, read it on the toilet if you want. Just make sure you grab the bowl and push, because you’re about to take one Tough Sh*t.

This post contains some questionable content, a
lil’ foul language and a slight possibility of nudity.
Ya never know.
Just consider yourself warned. 

Back in the mid-2000’s, my sister just about choked when she discovered that I had never seen a quaint lil’ tongue-in-cheek religious flick by Kevin Smith.  She and her boyfriend at the time were big fans of Mr. Smith’s work and I was just clueless.  I didn’t know even who Kevin Smith was but I trusted my sister’s judgment enough to suck it up and watch Dogma.  I laughed myself stupid.  The subject matter alone was taboo.  There are a few things that you just dont do in today’s world.  One of them – a no brainer to most people – is DO NOT POKE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITH A POINTY OBJECTS.  Even with incredibly risky subject matter, I laughed so hard I almost peed.  It was a film that combined an intelligent plot with (mostly) intelligent humor.  I loved it!  Oh!  And when Carlin (who I have also been a HUGE fan of for YEARS!!!) unveiled Buddy Jesus, my first thought wasn’t “WTF?”, it was “Where can I get one of those?!?!?!”  To this day, that movie is one of my all time favorites and turned me into a total Kevin Smith fangirl. 
Since then, I have seen all of the famous Kevin Smith flicks and have grown to love his style.  I found that the more I followed his career, the more I loved his work and respected the person he appeared to be in the public eye.  Then I discovered the SmodCo Podcasts.  Many of my friends will tell you that I am a gadget junkie and I openly embrace technology.  On any given day, if you are walking past me on my way to work, I am carrying my back pack containing my laptop, my trusty Blackberry or my Kindle Fire is in my hand, my iPod Classic is in my pocket and I am more than likely listening to either an audio book, stand-up comedy or a  Podcast.  I dont even remember where I heard about Mr. Smith’s  podcasts but I have become a faithful listener of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old.  Week after week, us fans are invited in to listen to Jason Mewes discuss the ups, the downs, the ins and outs, and all the crazy shit he did in the name of a high.  And this was not about the mild-manored leafy green substance but Mr. Brownstone himself.  A nasty addiction that most dont walk away from well enough to tell the tale.  Each episode of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old wraps up with Jay revealing the number of days he’s been sober.  After all the dick jokes and the hilarious stories of his hot pursuit of the Almighty V, the show serves a very real purpose – a means of intervention to keep Jay Mewes sober and alive.  It’s a funny show with an inspiring message.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, go add it to your iPod.  It’s free on iTunes along with all the rest of the SmodCo Podcasts. 
This brings us to Tough Sh*t: Life Advice From a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good.  In the process of doing one of my regular sweeps of the interwebz for new releases, I stumbled across Kevin Smith’s upcoming release.  I noted the date on my release calendar but it was already way too close to the release date to try to grab an advanced copy for an early review.  So, like everyone else I had to wait for the release date.  March 20, 2012 came and went and I was in the middle of reading a series so I had to wait.  This past Friday, I finished that series and got some new audio books, one of which was Tough Sh*t.  The universe has a real funky way of timing things.  I couldn’t possibly have picked this book up at a better time in my life. 
The audio book version of Tough Sh*t: Life Advice From a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good is just shy of six hours long.  Narrated by Kevin himself, this book is a highlight reel of sorts for the wonderful events and hard lessons that Kevin has gone though in his life.  If you’re familiar with Kevin Smith at all, you will know what I mean when I say that this book is written in exactly the same was that he speaks.  It’s frank, too the point and at times, laugh-out-loud funny.  Filled with smart humor and as many pop culture references as anyone could imagine cramming into one book, you will find yourself completely lost in the stories of his life, both the ups and the downs.   
Each chapter tells a story from Kevin’s life in which a lesson of some sort was learned.  I swear to the Powers That Be, he comes out of the gate with a chapter that will make you laugh heartily and then before you know it, you’re tearing up.  Each lesson comes with a little piece of sound advice with a funny twist.   Here’s an example of one of my favorites:

“In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least trying to accomplish all of you wildest dreams in life.
Lemme include a strong exception: If your wildest dreams are to hunt humans or kill children, I’m not talking to you.  Please draw no hidden, sociopathic meaning to my words.  Life is fragile and painful enough, so dont hurt people, asshole.” 

A great piece of advice and when I read it, I almost snorted coffee out my nose when I hit the second half. 
There are a few chapters that I absolutely loved the most out of this great little book.  One of them is the chapter in which Kevin tells us how he ended up wanting to become a filmmaker and his sister gives him a remarkable piece of advice:

“Then be a filmmaker.”

Kevin goes on to speak about following your dreams and making them your reality…..which of course, leads to Batman:

“We cant all be Superman, but we sure as shit can train hard, and with loads of practice, we can be Batman. 
And who the fuck doesn’t want to be Batman?  Batman has an impeccable moral compass, he’s clever and mysterious, and when fucktards get sassy, he punches them in the face.”

Love that quote!
This is where the book started to have an affect on me on a more personal level.  See, I hit a point just about a year ago now where I felt like my life was not mine anymore.  Although I have a great full time job, I am also a wife and mom of two adorable kids.  I love my family to pieces but I was doing nothing for myself.  I had invested four years into my husband’s music career and rather than being fun like it started, it had become a chore as I started to develop a good sized case of resentment.  That’s when I decided it was time to do something for me.  For years, I have posted on my now defunct Myspace page my thoughts on my three addictions – books, music and movies.  Due to my commitment to my husband’s record label, I hadn’t had any time to read and I really missed it.  For as long as I could remember, reading had been my therapy.  My way of escaping the day-to-day nonsense of life that can slowly drive a person crazy.  Reading was my way of taking some quiet time to mentally check out and hit my brain’s reset button.  So I decided that I was going to start reading again.  Enter my Kindle.  Once I bought my Kindle, I started reading so much that I was driving my friends crazy with talk of the latest book I had devoured.  So rather than lose all my friends from my incessant yapping about books, I created an outlet and that’s how Pure Textuality was born.  What started as a way for me to vent my thoughts on books has turned into a little online community of book lovers and authors.  I also discovered in my Kindle travels the ocean that is the indie-author scene right now and I have found a great many new favorite authors because of it.  I love what I do.  It’s a passion.  A passion that I hope to see blossom into a career one day.  Then I read Chapter Three of this book and this quote gave my Pure Textuality batteries a super powered recharge:

“My American Dream has always been simple, and it’s one I encourage you adopt as your own: Figure out what you love to do, then figure out how to get paid to do it.  Film would become that for me – a passion that I got paid to pursue – but the theory can be applied to almost anything: If you like dogs, monetize your canine interest with a dog-walking or washing business.  If you like jerking off, sell your sperm or wank for porn.”

Kevin Smith goes on to tell us the stories of his dream becoming his reality.  This man accomplished what so many of us try to – he made a career out of just doing what he loves.  For that alone, he has my respect. 
There is so much more to this book that is worth reading but I don’t want to spoil it for everyone.  I loved this book from beginning to end.  It’s been a long time since I have read a memoir that I have walked away from feeling inspired.  I read Walk This Way about Aerosmith and the only think I walked away from that book with was a feeling of relief that I never dabbled with cocaine.  As memoirs go, Tough Sh*t is one that I think everyone should read, regardless of your path in life.  The wide array of fantastic stories about his career will keep you entertained and give you a new perspective on how to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.  I will most definitely keep this book in my collection to refer to when I am not really sure where I am headed. 
Overall, I give Tough Sh*t: Life Advice From a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good 5 brightly shining stars with super powers!
Kevin also states in his book how much he steers away from critics so I highly doubt he will read this, but in the off chance that he does:

Dear Kev,
Fantastic job!  By the end of your book, I got it.  I know where the puck is going to be. 
Thank you!

Click here for hardcover!
Click here for Kindle book!


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  1. Oh I can’t wait to dive into Kev’s Book! It sounds like an absolute MUST READ! Don’t know if I can adore him any more than I already do, but it sounds like I will. Having been a fan of his for longer than I am willing to admit, I fear that it would reveal that I saw “Clerks” before I was even born *whistles innocently* . Thanks for a great review, on my way to pick up the book now. xx

  2. […] reviewed the book (you can click here to read it) even though Kev actually talks at length in his book about his unlove for critics.  I read the […]

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