Former wrestling superstar Mick Foley has written a debut novel that's a lot like the professional wrestling industry it's all about extremes. On one hand, Tietam Brown is brutally violent, has several passages that can only be described as repulsive and contains major characters that are racist and sexist megalomaniac caricatures. But the story is also highly energetic, breakneck-paced, witty, laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly addictively entertaining.
Antietam (Andy) Brown is the story's narrator, a physically and emotionally damaged teenager trying to find happiness in a life filled with nothing but cruelty and misfortune. Fresh out of reform school for killing a boy who attempted to sodomize him, Andy is reunited with his deadbeat father, who abandoned him when he was a newborn. Trying to make a fresh start living with his dad in upstate New York, Andy finds fitting in at the local high school difficult because of his useless right hand and missing right ear (the result of a childhood car accident caused by Andy when he attacked and killed his abusive guardian at the age of five). Living with his beer-guzzling, womanizing father is difficult at best, but Andy discovers a reason to live when he falls in love with Terri Lynn Johnson, the school's kind-hearted homecoming queen. True love, however, is fleeting at best, especially after Terri Lynn is introduced to Andy's father, who enjoys working out in the nude.
Tietam Brown, a strange mix of J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, is definitely not for the faint of heart. Fans of Mick Foley's previous nonfiction ventures—his best-selling autobiography Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks and Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker Than Wrestling, a look into the wrestling industry—will undoubtedly enjoy this sad and disturbing tale.
Paul Goat Allen is a freelance editor and writer who lives in Syracuse, New York.