I won an Advance Reading Copy of HOLLYWOOD PARK by Mikel Jollett as part of a giveaway on Bookish First! I also received an Advance Listener Copy through Libro.FM. Thank you to Celadon Books, Macmillan Audio and Mikel Jollett for the chance to read and provide an honest review review!
Publication Date: 5/5/2020
Rating: 4.5 / 5
HOLLYWOOD PARK is a memoir, beginning with Mikel Jollett as a young boy who was raised in a commune in California which started with some potentially good intentions as a drug rehab but soon morphed into a cult. Children were kept separate from their parents. The cult leader decided who could have a relationship with who. Mikel’s mother eventually makes an escape with her two sons, but the family must then adapt to “normal” life.
This memoir covers Jollett’s childhood living in poverty, his mother’s mental instability and the men that came in and out of his life. Jollett’s older brother was appeared to be more heavily impacted by their history, showing anger and control issues. Their father was an ex-con and a former drug addict. The story does give hope for recovery though and Jollett has become a musician, frontman for rock band Airborne Toxic Event, and a skilled writer.
I really found this fascinating – both in print and in audio. The audio wraps in music which really enhanced the story as well. Jollett shows very clearly the broken and complicated relationships that really consumed his life. There were moments where he was struggling for a normal boyhood experience like collecting cans and doing chores to earn money for a new bike followed by heartbreaking moments when bullies went after him and his own brother wouldn’t or couldn’t stand up for him.
The book is written using the author’s own perspective without a lot of outside information. The life in the Church of Synanon isn’t covered in great detail. I would have maybe liked to hear a bit more about that part of the story, but it is understandable given Jollett’s young age when leaving. The lingering impact of that life is made very clear throughout the book!
This was a well written, engaging and heart touching book and I definitely recommend you check it out!
If you haven’t signed up for Bookish First, I absolutely recommend it. I have received a few books from their program now by winning giveaways or earning point for writing and sharing reviews (something I do anyway!). I would recommend that you check out my links page for more information. My referral code will get you (and me) some bonus points toward earning some free books of your own.