Living the Gimmick
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Living the Gimmick

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4.51 of 5 stars 4.51  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  21 reviews
From the time he was able to body slam a pillow, Michael dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler, vanquishing imaginary enemies and nagging self-doubt with every drop kick he landed. As his buddies hit the books, Michael got hit. When they left for college, he enrolled in Shane Stratford's Wrestling Academy, where cash -- and a particularly punishing "audition" -- affo...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published October 15th 2000 by Grand Central Publishing (first published October 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 82)
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Amy Gardner
Apr 10, 2014 Amy Gardner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All readers, pro wrestling fans or not
Recommended to Amy by: A pro wrestler who shall remain nameless
This book takes us back to when it was still debatable whether pro wrestling was "real" or not. It's all too real for Michael Harding, the protagonist of this book, as he navigates his way through a world of wild characters in a quest to find the most elusive character of all: himself. Very well written and thoughtful. Made me proud to be an admirer of what this book terms "a brutal ballet." Great work, Ben Peller.
Bentley
Oct 04, 2012 Bentley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pretty much everyone
Recommended to Bentley by: Am a fan of Peller's other work (and a pro wrestling fan)
Finally got a chance to finish this book. I was blown away. A really fantastic book not only about pro wrestling but also about a young person coming into himself. Michael Harding is an intriguing protagonist and his journey through the world of professional wrestling brings to mind Astrid's journey in WHITE OLEANDER (which I'm now going to reread). Also have to reread Peller's TO LIVE AND DRINK IN L.A. and TO LIVE AND LOVE IN L.A. Ahh... so many books, so little precious time. Read and live on!...more
Carly C
Feb 28, 2012 Carly C rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pro wrestling fans and non-pro wrestling fans alike
Recommended to Carly by: Read his other books and enjoyed them
Though a work of "fiction," this ranks up there with autobiographies by wrestlers like Mick Foley and Chris Jericho. Ben Peller has obviously had experience in the unpredictable world of professional wrestling, and this book delves into the sport in a way no autobiography I've read has touched. I don't think Peller's in "the business" any more, so he has nothing to lose. Even if you're not a fan of pro wrestling, chances are you'll appreciate this book's gripping style.
Katy
May 29, 2014 Katy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All readers, pro wrestling fans or not, and also young adults
Recommended to Katy by: I've enjoyed Ben Peller's other works
This novel made me look at the world of pro wrestling in a way I never thought I would. It's a world full of not just characters, but human beings. I don't follow the "WWE Universe," but Michael Harding's journey from a young man who's searching for a father figure to a man who can stand on his own and be who he truly is is a tale well worth reading.
Gordon Williams
Oct 03, 2012 Gordon Williams rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers, pro wrestling fans or not
Recommended to Gordon by: Saw a review
This book sends the reader into the wild world of professional wrestling. Kind of like a THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, with all the humor and twists and plot turns along the way. Michael Harding, the protagonist, is a truly unique character, just as this is truly a one of a kind tale. Pro wrestling fan or not, this makes for great reading.
Priscilla Borne
Aug 13, 2012 Priscilla Borne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers, not just pro wrestling fans
Recommended to Priscilla by: Someone special
In a belated shout out to the 1000th Monday Night Raw, thought I'd say this is the best written book about the wild and often misunderstood world of professional wrestling. Ben Peller weaves a great tale about a young man trying to find himself in a profession that so often drifts between the twilight of fiction and reality. Well done.
Felicity
Jan 10, 2013 Felicity rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All readers, wrestling fans or not
Recommended to Felicity by: Enjoyed Ben Peller's other work
After enjoying "To Live and Drink In L.A." so much, I wanted to check out Mr. Peller's first novel. This story about Michael Harding pursuing his dream of becoming a pro wrestler surprised me a bit: it was both funny and touching. I don't follow pro wrestling, but this "coming of age" tale had me thoroughly enthralled. Great job!
Marian
Being a fan of Peller’s other books, I wanted to read this work as well. I found the story engrossing and actually quite universal; and even though wrestling is an alien world to me, it is ultimately revealed to be theatre in the grandest way. Great story! Moving and compelling, I recommend it wholeheartedly!
Cindy C
Apr 29, 2012 Cindy C rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All pro wrestling fans and those who have always been curious as to why pro wrestling is so popular
Recommended to Cindy by: Read "To Live and Drink In L.A." and love this author's work
A great look into a world I wasn't all that familiar with, professional wrestling. As Ben Peller's "To Live and Drink In L.A." opened up corners of Los Angeles, this book opens up the nooks and crannies of a "sport" that many mock but few understand. The writing and the characters are equally colorful.
Robert
Jan 28, 2013 Robert rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, pro wrestling fan or not
Recommended to Robert by: A website
As Mick Foley's "Have a Nice Day" is the best pro wrestling autobiography (in my opinion), then Ben Peller's "Living the Gimmick" is the best pro wrestling novel. It combines a coming of age story with the wild world of professional wrestling. The result is a great story with plenty of twists.
Christie Cal
I really enjoyed this book. Not much of a pro wrestling fan, but I enjoyed Ben Peller's other work, so I thought I'd give this a go. I wasn't disappointed. He really offers a unique look into this wild world. The story veers a bit out there, particularly toward the end, but I'd still recommend it!
David Goal
Jan 14, 2012 David Goal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: a reader, fan of pro wrestling or not
Recommended to David by: Friend
An awesome book that delves into the world of professional wrestling in a way that many autobiographies don't. This book combines fiction and some autobiographical material to create a truly startling look at not only pro wrestling but a young person's search for self.
Patricia Wilder
Mar 24, 2012 Patricia Wilder rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all readers, pro wrestling fans or not
Recommended to Patricia by: Am a fan of the author
Can't believe I read a book about pro wrestling; it's an impressive art form, but usually not my style. But I'm a fan of Ben Peller's, and this book did not disappoint! A great look into a world I was not familiar with! Isn't that why we all read?
Charissa
Mar 07, 2008 Charissa marked it as to-read
I met this guy in Los Angeles last weekend and he told me if I read his book he would drive to Petaluma, autograph the book for me, and then do me. Ha! I told him he is a big whore, but the book looks interesting so I'm going to read it anyway.
Kristi
Mar 05, 2012 Kristi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All who have struggled with their dreams
Recommended to Kristi by: I read Ben Peller's other work and loved it
Just finished this last night. A GREAT book. I'm not a huge pro wrestling fan, but you don't have to be one to enjoy this coming of age tale about a young man finding his way in an unusual world, where things are not always as they seem.
Trent
Best book about pro wrestling I've read. Like the art of professional wrestling itself, this book blurs the line between fiction and "reality." Any reader, pro wrestling fan or not, will enjoy it.


Doug
Apr 13, 2013 Doug rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All readers, pro wrestling fans or not
Recommended to Doug by: A friend
Best novel about pro wrestling ever. Ben Peller writes with an acute accuracy that chronicles his protagonist's journey through this truly bizarre "sports entertainment" world. A solid coming of age novel.
Cheryl
Great novel about a world many tend to not understand. This book takes you there, and shows you how awesome, amazing, and sometimes heartbreaking, professional wrestling can be. Kudos, Mr. Peller!!
Cassie
Read this after I finished "To Live and Drink In L.A." I enjoyed it, not quite as much as "To Live and Drink," but it was still a cool read.
Briantru
saw this book and i just had to read it. had some flaws but it was just a fun read. great job to the author
Tracy Love
Mar 13, 2012 Tracy Love rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all readers
Recommended to Tracy by: WWE
Best professional wrestling novel. Ever.
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To Live and Drink in L.A. TO LIVE AND DIE IN fantasyLAnd (To Live, #3) STRANGE LOVE: How Pro Wrestling Taught Me to Relax and Love My Mom How To Trap a Cougar Vs. How To Trap a Cub To Live and Love In L.A.

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