This is honestly one of the best books that I’ve had the pleasure of consuming – I say that rather than read as I listened to the audiobook. Unlike some celebrity autobiographies that chart the highlights, low times and defining rites of passage from childhood to stardom, Guts is a saga of survival.
Kristen Johnston, perhaps best known for 30 Rock or, more recently, The Exes, is frank, brutal, honest and dark, without being too gory about the events that led her out of addiction.
Chronicling her life around the incident in London where her guts exploded, she explains how the life of an addict can sometimes feel so brilliant and wonderful, even as it slowly destroys your life and encompasses your being.
Some readers might not find this story to be what they were expecting, but others – myself included – will be amazed. It feels like the book I’ve been waiting for and that’s because this book feels more like a conversation with a friend who has chosen, however difficult for them, to be honest with you rather than give you a history lesson. Every person who listens to or reads Guts is privy to a deeply personal account of a period in Kristen’s life.
Kristen Johnston is a smart woman; smart enough to know that she’s not going to pretend to be somebody else for the pleasure of hundreds more readers who are eager to sip at the gossip cup. This story isn’t gossip. In fact, it happened in spite of gossip during the time of her hospitalization and recovery in rehab, while the tabloids claimed she was doing wild weight control diets.
This incredibly direct account of what it feels like to have your body destroyed from the inside out, the acute accounting of stray thoughts and reflections of the self, are what suck you in to Kristen’s story. This book will and has helped others to realise their own addiction and understand the addictions of those close to them.
We often hear about celebrity rehab stints, we read how so and so spent three months in a place that sounds better than the hotels most of us will ever afford to stay in, but there is more to the person who takes that journey than we realise.
Will everyone love Guts by Kristen Johnston? Perhaps not. But for the many people who adore her TV personality, enjoy her as an actress or relate to her struggles, this book will bring you together in recognition of an excellent story about a real ‘pill popping lush’.
Special commendation should go to the descriptions of the character/person, Nurse Wretched. She’s so NHS.