Review: I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart
Synopsis of “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons”
According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear:
A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact.
A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together.
A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart’s life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning.
In his literary debut, Kevin Hart takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.
And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.
My Review of “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons”
A comedian typically uses his or her life experience as fodder for their stand-up material and if you watch them enough times, you pretty much get the gist of who they are. Kevin Hart explained this in great detail in his book, “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons“. But what you don’t normally get, and this was the pleasant surprise for me, is a truly honest, humbling and sometimes demystifying peek into the experiences behind the events that made the person. These parts are often left out because they aren’t funny nor do they raise one’s celebrity. They are human moments that redefine our perception of the subject from perfect movie star, comedian and lovable persona to a hard-headed, immature walking mistake. But that’s the magic of this book. Instead of laughing out loud like watching the DVD “Seriously Funny” or one of his movies like “Ride Along”, I found myself rooting for the idiot Kevin Hart to do better and to stop treating his wife so badly. Most of the time I was disappointed as he made repeat mistakes (some of which carry to today.) In general, I felt for the repeat offender character in his mistakes the same as I felt for the professional comedian on stage in his humor.
Kevin Hart’s story starts with his rough childhood. He grew up in the heart of the big city in a single parent household. Hart’s absent father was, and I am being nice here, a screw up, stemming mostly from drug addiction. His father’s consequent behavior is explained almost exclusively by this addiction but nonetheless damaging to the father-son relationship with his sons, Kevin and Kenneth (Kevin’s older brother.) Kenneth and Kevin carry from this experience a resilient heart but the two take very different paths through adulthood.
Kenneth tried a “traditional” route of work plus small business owner which had its struggles early (this part is actually hilarious so I won’t spoil it.) Kevin’s path on the other hand was not so traditional. Every positive step seemed like there was an equally strong opposite force pulling in the negative direction. From the start of his comedy career to his battles with focus to his caustic relationship with his eventual wife and mother of his kids, Torrei, Kevin struggled mightily to navigate adulthood and derive even the most simple achievements. To be honest this is what made the book for me.
From “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons“ I expected the “hustle hard” and “keep pushing against adversity” cliché material and this book is filled with it. The human struggle however is what made the trip enjoyable. It’s one thing to hear someone accomplished talk about the ups and downs but conclude with this larger than life victory. It is a whole other thing to hear the same but include a complete dissertation of personal struggles without blame on some outside force or circumstance. He owned his stupidity. He owned his constant struggle which last even to today.
So kudos to Kevin Hart for his continued success and I can’t wait to read the personal details contained in the next chapters of his life. My biggest hope is that he uses the multiple second chances he has been granted to get right, to be better and to model better.
My Recommendation: If you are looking for a quick read and deeper dive into the celebrity that is Kevin Hart, this book will prove to be enjoyable.