Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE

Pat Patterson, with Bertrand Hébert. ECW (Perseus/Legato, U.S. dist.; Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-77041-293-4
Two stories are at work in this memoir from Patterson, one of the greatest performers and creative minds in the history of professional wrestling. One story is the tale of a young French-Canadian man growing up in Montreal in the 1950s, struggling with his sexuality. He meets the love of his life in Boston and finds acceptance for their romance in both the broader society and his macho, closed-to-outsiders industry. “Being gay turned out to not be an issue at all,” he writes. “As long as I took five- and ten-dollar wrestling payoffs without complaining.” That story line is surprisingly wistful, tender, and accessible to all readers. The second, however, is a behind-the-scenes look into the wrestling world that will lose all but the most fervent fans. Many names from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) are referenced without context. Others are purposefully not named. Major events are mentioned without details that might help newcomers grasp the situation. This inside-wrestling aspect may narrow the book’s readership. But Patterson is a very good storyteller, and his tales from the road about well-known personalities such as the fun-seeking Andre the Giant and the forever-young-at-heart Ray Stevens are wonderfully told, and many of the wrestlers’ time-killing pranks are laugh-out-loud funny. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2016
Release date: 08/01/2016
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