Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven

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By: Brandon Easton, Denis Medri

Read: 16 December 2015

I promised on GoodReads that I would write the full review soon, so before the month is out, I am trying to finish quite a few of my delinquent reviews, and am starting with this one.

This is probably the best biography I have read in a long time. And I have to say right here, right now, that this moved me. It was written from Andre’s perspective, and covered his childhood up until his death.

There was quite a bit that I didn’t know about Andre (I will use his ‘Christian’ name, familiarly, because he was a hero of mine when I  was growing up. It feels almost disrespectful to call him otherwise.) and this short graphic volume filled in blanks that I never bothered thinking about as a kid, or adult. It kinda goes to show how much you take people for granted, even ones that you consider instrumental to your life.

This is an excellent biography, but since it was written in an autobiographical tone it may be confusing to some readers. I think that should have been clarified early on. But still it was a style which I liked! It worked for me, and made me as a reader connect to his story.

Andre, it seems, was an outcast, and used to being looked at, but that never made it easier. For him, or his estranged daughter (the letter from her at the beginning was heart-rending and uplifting at the same time). He fought against the odds, never seeming to come out on the bottom of anything, although his body took the brunt of his life.

As anyone else, Andre had his vices. Nothing really seemed to be enough for him, but isn’t that part of what made him a legend? The ability to continue on when others quit, failed, or moved on. He never stopped to question if he could do as he was asked (if this recount is to be believed – which I truly do!), he just looked to please others. Maybe that is a part of what made him immortal.

I also really enjoyed seeing the photographs at the end – that this was not just an illustrated volume. It helped bring back memories of the big guy from my own childhood. As I said, Andre the Giant was one of my childhood heroes. Hells, I named my puppy for him! (That may not mean much to some people, but my Andre is a service dog to me, and as important as any of my kids.) I remember the night I brought him home, old wrestling re-runs were on at my friend’s apartment, and after trying a few names on the black St. Bernard mix with the big paws, I knew who he was.

Andre the Giant was a giant of a man, and one that lived – really lived. After reading this, I can confidently say my childhood hero is still one of my biggest heroes, and a enduring symbol. I can’t help but hope that he knew how much he meant to kids like me, and that his legend lives on.

Read this review on GoodReads, Powells, Amazon, and NetGalley. More to come.

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