When I grew up, Disney princesses were the go-to role model when someone asked me who or what I wanted to be when I grew up. Some days I wanted to sing like Ariel, other days I wanted to read as many books as Belle. While I may be more Belle-like today writing a book review, this next title is quite different from a princess waiting for her prince to save her. AJ Mendez Brooks’ new book, Crazy Is My Superpower, is about a little girl who didn’t quite fit in growing up, but eventually found her niche competing as a professional wrestler with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
This book reminded me a lot of manga and comic books with its little blurbs of commentary and anime-like illustrations. The very first thing you notice when you open Crazy Is My Superpower is a quote by Brooks on the dedication page that says, “for every girl who needs a hero and doesn’t yet realize she will become her own.” Such a simple but unequivocally powerful thing to say from the get-go. The book goes into a lot of raw detail about Brooks and her life growing up in family that was riddled with poverty and constant motion. Her writing is so personal, it’s like reading a diary or talking to a best friend. This is such a breath of fresh air for being a book written by a “celebrity,” because oftentimes books written by people in the public eye are heavily redacted and guarded.
Brooks’ story is different-she’s honest about her struggles, her goals, and how she hustled her way to become one of the top female wrestlers in the United States. There’s a bit in the book that talks about “things I should be more embarrassed about.” It includes everything from her lack of chopstick comprehension to her habit of keeping cereal in the fridge. It’s a quirky passage that again, humanizes her so much and relates back to the opening about how this book is for little girls who are capable of becoming their own superheroes.
There is no “woe was me” passage about how she grew up in poverty and therefore was prevented from becoming a professional female wrestler. There is no pity party for how she broke into an industry that was, and largely still is, male-dominated. This book is such a light-hearted, but at the same time heart-tugging account of one woman’s determination to overcome the odds of becoming a teen pregnancy or drug user statistic.
One of my favorite passages is a letter she writes to her future daughter. There are ten key pieces of advice, relevant to anyone (not just Mendez’s future unborn daughter). At the end there is also an afterthought that, in the event she has a son, there are only three things he should remember:
1. Morning boners are perfectly normal.
2. Try not to be an asshole.
3. Be good to women. They deal with way more shit than you do.
Candid, right? I’d say this is a great book to give a pre-teen to young adult, because it’s a book about growing up and getting comfortable in one’s own skin. I’m sure adults would also like this book, but I’d say it’s geared more towards an audience that still has a lot of life decisions left untouched (like relationships, going to school, and picking a direction for a career). In all I’d say this is a great, very honest read that’s sure to be a nice addition to one’s bookshelf.
Score Card: Cover Art 4/5 | Content 4/5 | Ease of Read 5/5
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher, but all thoughts are my honest opinion after reading it.