Sheenagh Pugh's Reviews > Here Comes Trouble

Here Comes Trouble by Michael Moore
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's review
Jan 08, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction

The sub-title "Stories of my Life" is indicative; this is autobiographical but more in a short story than a novel form; 24 separate pieces from different stages in his life. Some, like the one where he runs for office on the school board at the age of 17, are gripping and well told; others, like his first date, are inconsequential and told at far too great a length. In "Abu 2 U 2", he seems to be desperately searching for "significance" in a really rather mundane story of travel delay - yes, it was indirectly occasioned by a terrorist threat, but he didn't really have any connection with that or know the full story at the time.

I don't think he knows the difference between an interesting, important event in his life and a mundane one; he thinks everything that happens to him is of earth-shaking moment and that's part of the trouble. I've seldom felt so conflicted about an author; on the one hand, I agree with him politically and think him both a brave and a principled man. But I also think he sounds like a pain in the neck, much of the time. The priest who expels him from the seminary says "I wish you well with whatever you decide to do with your life and I pray for those who have to endure you". I can see what he meant. Moore accuses him of smugness: well it takes one to know one. Moore has an utter conviction of his own rightness, and even when such a conviction is justified, (as, much of the time, it is here) it isn't attractive. It may, however, be necessary in a man who wants to bring about change.

Yet he can be a sharp, observational writer, especially when he isn't talking about himself, and often very funny: "The craniums in our part of the country were designed to leave a little extra room for the brain to grow, in case one day we found ourselves exposed to something we didn't understand, like a foreign language or a salad." And though the title "Here Comes Trouble" is, to my ear, annoyingly arch, it's a fact that he has been in some odd places at odd and interesting times, as when he got lost as a boy on a visit to the Senate and was found by Bobby Kennedy. "May you live in interesting times" is no curse to him; in fact he'd be busy making them as interesting as possible. I would say about half these pieces are too anecdotal and not as important as he thinks, but many of the rest are really of absorbing interest, both for the sake of their subject matter and for the style. More of that, and I'd have given it a 4, but there are too many I found myself skim-reading.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert I had been trying to decide whether to buy this. Like you, I find Michael Moore an awkward man: he's right about many things, but very full of himself, and too easily diverted to a side track. Bowling for Columbine was a pretty intelligent movie, until he decided to go after Charlton Heston, a fairly pointless, frail, bitter old man - hardly a suitable adversary. He often gets far too gimmicky to be easily taken seriously, too focused on publicity stunts and not focused enough on being effective in a meaningful way...

Doubt I'll get the book, though. Sounds like it has too many of the things that'd annoy me about him in it...

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