I received a prerelease copy of The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book for professional review. I wasn't sure what to expect, but after just a few minutes I was absolutely captivated, laughing hysterically, thoroughly entertained, genuinely inspired, and even educated by reading through various entries in the 101 Norris selected. It is the most reasonably priced 320-page book that I've seen in a long time ([...]).
According to Norris, he was asked repeatedly over the past few years by various publishers to write about his favorite Chuck Norris Facts, those hyperbolic and mythical sayings about the nature of Chuck Norris that have created him into an Internet and superhero sensation.(I'm certain that picking 101 favorites was not easy for him, being that there are literally tens of thousands.)
Under each of Chuck's 101 favorite Facts in the book is also a related short story about it (titled "Let's Be Honest"), then a related quote from contemporaries to classic figures (titled "They said it") and a final section summarizing Chuck's life principle based upon what he just wrote (titled "Chuck's Code").
The 101 Chuck Norris Facts include some Facts that I've heard before, but many, many, many I have not. They all are belly-achingly funny! Examples of a few are: "If you work in an office with Chuck Norris, don't ask him for his 3-hole punch," "Chuck Norris was born in a cabin that he built with his bare hands," "Sweating bullets is literally what happens when Chuck Norris gets too hot," and "Chuck Norris can gargle peanut butter and blow bubbles with beef jerky." And, just in time for the holiday season, "Chuck Norris knows when you are sleeping; he knows when you're awake; he knows when you've been bad or good; so play dead for goodness sake!"
A phenomenal artistic touch to this book is the inclusion of Chuck Norris caricature sketches accompanying each of his 101 favorite Facts. They include Chuck wrestling with a grizzly bear (8 times his size), Chuck roundhouse kicking a stick of dynamite, Chuck hanging from a ladder that is dropped from a flying helicopter (an action and scary stunt story he also shares), etc.
As hilarious as the Chuck Norris Facts are, I found the most engaging part of the book is the diversity of stories in the 101 entries, from Norris's martial arts, movies and television careers to his encounters with notables and others all around the world. My favorites are how he wrestled and got bit by a snake on "Walker, Texas Ranger," and how he had to use a real rat (instead of a fake one) for a stunt in one of his Missing in Action movies in which he had to hold the rat in his mouth for several minutes while hanging upside down from a rope! The stories also include intimate details of his personal life, from family, love and marriage, faith and even his daily workout plan and diet. He discusses how he was able to overcome the effects of an alcoholic violent father, abject poverty and the many hurdles on his way to become world karate champion and an award-winning actor. Particularly moving are his tributes to his mother and brother Wieland, who died in 1970 in the Vietnam War. He also conveys insights into (and funny stories about) his relationships with other legends like Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and many other movie stars, sports figures and cultural icons. Lastly, many entries are inspirational and educational on a host of subjects, from America's origins to fitness and finances and overcoming various obstacles in life. In almost every entry, Chuck encourages his readers to keep striving to be their best, physically, mentally and spiritually. And he uses his five core values (fight, family, faith, fitness and freedom) to motivate them.
Insider information revealed in the book includes where Norris got the name "Chuck Norris" (not his original name), how he met his wife Gena (while on a date with someone else), intimate and funny details of his friendship with Bruce Lee, a time when Chuck actually wore leotards (yes, it's true), Chuck's diet and daily exercise program, never-before revealed details about his family, intimate details behind-the-scenes of his movies and television hit "Walker, Texas Ranger," secrets behind his martial arts career and acting successes, confessions about "swalling the Hollywood lifestyle" that led to his renewed faith in God, and an answer as to whether or not he will run for a government position in the future, among many other personal facts.
If you like quotes, you'll love Norris's collection of quotes ("They said it"). They are a rich group of sayings from those over the past couple centuries, from comedians, scientists, revolutionaries to cultural heroes. Contributors include classics from Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, C.S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, etc., but there are also contemporaries like Steve Carell, Steve Colbert, Jeff Foxworthy, Rachel Ray, Jon Stewart, Suze Orman, Yoda, Conan O'Brien, Casting Crowns, Ted Nugent, Bono, Denzel Washington, and many, many others.
Despite that Norris is active in real life in the cultural wars and political scene, absent is any reference to partisan politics. I appreciate that. When he speaks about America, he references the founders and encourages all Americans to fight for our country. When he addresses anything touchy, like religion, he does so with class, respect and optimism. Whether you're a fan or not, whether you're an American or not, this volume will be thoroughly enjoyed by people here and abroad. I'm predicting it will quickly go into other languages, especially with Norris' large global fan base.
About the only negative I can say about the Official Chuck Norris Fact Book is: Why wasn't it published a few years ago?
If you love to read, buy this book.
If you are not a big reader, buy this book.
If you are discouraged and need a laugh, buy this book.
If you just like to laugh, buy this book.
If you need some inspiration, buy this book.
If you believe in freedom, buy this book.
If you are bored, buy this book.
If you are sick and tired of bad news, buy this book.
If you are weary from economic hardships, buy this book.
If you are in debt, buy this book. (Even entries on how to get out of debt!)
If you are on a limited book budget, buy this book.
If you want to build up your family, buy this book
If you want to improve your health, buy this book.
If you want to be more spiritual, buy this book
If you love this country, buy this book.
If you want to inspire kids or grandkids, buy them this book!
And if you want any of the preceding for anyone else you know, buy this book for them too!
The Official Chuck Norris Fact book would make a fantastic Christmas gift for just about anyone, and is small enough even to be a stocking stuffer. I can see how the book would be great for young people and college-age, but there is nothing that restricts its reading enjoyment among any age group, gender or blue-collar or white collar worker. This book would be particularly encouraging to military personnel, as Norris shares repeated stories about his own military experience and his two visits to our troops overseas (beside the fact that the Chuck Norris Facts are VERY popular among the military). He is very uplifting to our service men and women and their families. I can see this book sitting on coffee tables, in bathrooms, in break rooms, in barracks or just on one's nightstand for lighter, slowdown, evening reading. This is a definite 5-star G & PG-rated comical and inspirational book that is good for the whole family, easily down to junior-high ages.
Especially noteworthy is the audio version of "The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book." Rarely does an audio book match or equal its printed version, but, in this case, Johnny Heller, who reads for it is a perfect match (a little like John Wayne and a little like Clint Eastwood and a little like Chuck Norris).
This book is Norris's 2nd grand slam (or should I say solid roundhouse connection?) in two years, following his #14 New York Times Best Seller, "Black Belt Patriotism"--a cultural manifesto (available I understand in Jan. 2010 in a 50-page expanded paperback version--Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America) Well done Norris! Well done!
ADDED: Just discovered that copies can be sent to our troops overseas in holiday caregiving packages by simply placing the following address as the shipping address during checkout: Give2TheTroops Headquarters, 196 West Street, Rocky Hill, CT 06067