cover image Never Grow Up

Never Grow Up

Jackie Chan with Zhu Mo, trans. from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang. Gallery, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-982-10721-5

This autobiography from action movie superstar Chan is not unlike a blockbuster film from Chan’s native Hong Kong: occasionally cheesy, sometimes questionable in quality, but undeniably fun. Born in 1954, Chan began appearing in martial arts films before the age of 10. Though his career proceeded by fits and starts, he found major stardom by the late 1970s and has appeared in more than 200 films. This book is marked by functional prose, a shambolic structure, and several sections (such as on Chan’s love of red wine, or his restoration of old Chinese homes) that go nowhere. Fortunately, Chan’s tone is winningly upbeat, and the pleasure he takes in his own success story is infectious. The author doesn’t hide his personal flaws, admitting to acting arrogantly when he first found fame, and in subsequent years to having been an insensitive and unfaithful husband. Despite the title, the book shows him eventually maturing into a person newly respectful and considerate toward his family and friends, even as he continues to make action films well into his 60s. This book isn’t going to win any awards, but like Jackie Chan himself, it provides a heck of a lot of entertainment. (Dec.)