The Tao of Bruce Lee: A Martial Arts Memoir

Davis Miller, Author Harmony $21 (208p) ISBN 978-0-609-60477-9
Miller (The Tao of Muhammad Ali) centers this awkwardly constructed coming-of-age memoir on Bruce Lee, the enigmatic martial arts master. Though Lee died mysteriously at age 32 with just four starring movie roles under his belt, his no-limits attitude and seemingly impossible dexterity touched the lives of people the world over. That includes Miller, who presents himself as a scrawny miscreant nicknamed ""Fetus"" by his classmates when his life was changed forever by Lee's film Enter the Dragon. Though Miller writes with obvious sincerity about his adolescent struggles and triumphs, his attempts to relay the zeal and gusto that Lee inspired in him are often strained, sappy and hampered by a prolific use of italics and exclamation points for emphasis: ""`[Writers] are scabs and open wounds,' claims old dead Chaucer. Donkey poop. If we're scabs, we're scabs that sing!"" The first and longest part of the book deals with Miller's personal evolution, but though his childhood tales are sometimes intriguing, his larger ruminations often smack of watered-down New Age philosophy and weak Beat writing. Miller fares much better with the zest he brings to the book's seemingly tacked-on exploration of Lee. He supplies biographical information that debunks many outlandish yet widely circulated Lee legends, interviews Lee disciples from Chuck Norris to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and explores the strange circumstances of Lee's death. ""Despite Lee's worldwide fame and his effect on word culture,"" writes Miller, ""no one has written about him truthfully or well."" Readers will sense a start here, and may wish that Miller had seized the opportunity to write more about his personal hero than his personal life. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
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