Books I couldn’t finish: Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life


Life is too short to waste on crap. So, when I find myself 100 pages into a crappy book, I put it down and pick up another one. I’m not alone; lots of book reviewers abandon crappy books mid-story. That’s one of the two reasons so many crappy books go unreviewed in magazines like Entertainment Weekly and People. (The other is that many arts and entertainment editors—not ours!—prefer to spend what little book space they’re allotted discussing books they can actually recommend.)

In our new segment, “Books I Couldn’t Finish,” we’re going to tell you how many pages we got through and why we couldn’t get through any more. We’re just not going to tell you why these books don’t work “on the whole.” Because we don’t know. We didn’t get that far.

If this new segment upsets any of you readers, writers, bibliophiles, critics or purists out there, I can only say this: don’t blame us for not finishing these books; blame the authors for not motivating us to finish.

The Details

Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life
Michael Krugman
World Wrestling Entertainment, $16.
Amazon: Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life

I made it through 83 pages of Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life, a 343-page bibliographic embarrassment in which author/embarrassee Michael Krugman manages to reduce a monumental athlete to a monumental bore.

The vast majority of Krugman’s book (okay, I skimmed the rest) consists of play-by-play accounts of Andre the Giant’s wrestling matches, which bleed together into one deeply uninteresting match (e.g., “Andre kicks back in the far corner, and then gets into an exchange with Tony Atlas. Bob Boyer runs at Andre, who gets a boot up and puts him down. Andre lies down on Boyer.”)

I suspect that Vince McMahon locked Krugman in a room containing a TV, a VCR and a 10-foot-high pile of Andre the Giant VHS tapes and told him, “I’ll unlock the door once you turn these tapes into an Andre the Giant biography.”

“A biography?” Krugman replied. “But I don’t know anything about Andre’s life—just what I’ve read on Wikipedia and”

“You’ve got until Saturday,” McMahon said. “Now get started or I’ll have Big Show come in here and choke-slam you.”

How little does Krugman know about Andre’s life? Let me give you an example: Here’s all that Krugman had to say about Andre’s education: “Andre loved going to school, especially the social aspect of being around people.” Really—that’s the only sentence on the topic; by the next paragraph, Andre has already grown and become a professional wrestler. (And come on … are we really supposed to believe the other children in Andre’s school didn’t mock him for his gigantism?)

Part of me wanted to finish A Legendary Life to see how many times the phrase “larger than life—both literally and figuratively” came up (twice by Page 83). But I’d rather endure a Big Show choke-slam than the rest of this book.


Previous Discussion:

  • From memoir to biography to novels, your options are blooming.

  • The acclaimed comic and Seattle cabaret star join what's already a must-see literary, musical and cultural bill.

  • This literary, arts and music fest is bringing together not merely a who’s-who, but a who’s-what of cultural figures.

  • Get More Print Stories
Top of Story