Thursday, December 15, 2016

Searching for John Hughes

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond
HarperCollins: 11/29/16
advanced reading copy; 304 pages
trade paperback ISBN-13: 9780062424839

Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Thought I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from Watching '80s Movies
by Jason Diamond is a very highly recommended coming-of-age memoir about growing up in Chicago and New York, and a poignant look at following your dreams.

After viewing his first Hughes movie, Jason Diamond was hooked. He felt as if the writer/director understood him and he knew through Hughes' oeuvre that, in the end, after all the angst and anxiety, everything would turn out okay. Growing up in Chicago, Diamond also closely knew the areas, homes, and life John Hughes portrayed as the writer and/or director for many of his classic '80's movies. Hughes movies include, in part:  National Lampoon's Vacation ('83), Mr. Mom ('83), Sixteen Candles ('84), The Breakfast Club ('85), Weird Science ('85), Pretty in Pink ('86), Ferris Bueller's Day Off ('86),  Some Kind of Wonderful ('87), Planes, Trains, and Automobiles ('87) She's Having a Baby ('88), Uncle Buck ('89) and the Home Alone movies ( '90, '92, '97)

In reality Diamond's life was anything but a Hughes movie. He was an abused kid from a broken home. As a teen, his mother left him in Chicago, alone and homeless, and he went through some horribly difficult trials. Through all of it, even in adulthood, Diamond could make sense of his life and the social castes in high school thanks to Hughes's movies. After high school, Diamond went to NYC where he worked various low-paying jobs, telling people that he was a writer. However, once he started claiming that he was writing the unauthorized biography of John Hughes, he devoted himself earnestly to that project for years. He may have been delusional and his methodology for writing the biography illogical, but he put his heart into it. Needless to say, no book resulted in his years of work.

This is a well-written, intelligent, heartbreaking memoir with an abundance of self-deprecating humor. Simultaneously, it is an exploration of how one man's movies influenced his life and choices. As I read, my heart went out to Diamond. I supported him, wished him well, and wanted him to succeed. Diamond proves within these pages that he is a writer. Perhaps he could have written the definitive biography of John Hughes, but what Jason Diamond truly succeeded at was showing how, while struggling through his 20's, he learned his craft, found a purpose for his life, let go of his tragic past, and grew up. I enjoyed this memoir immensely.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins. 

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1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love that the author found hope and inspiration from movies when he didn't have it from his own real life. It goes to show what you can do when you have the perseverance to find inspiration in life.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!