cover image I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons

I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons

Kevin Hart, with Neil Strauss. 37 Ink, $26.99 (378p) ISBN 978-1-5011-5556-7

Comedian Hart tells all in this emotion-filled memoir full of grit and humor. Writing with Rolling Stone contributor Strauss (The Game), Hart describes growing up in North Philadelphia in the 1980s and '90s with a cocaine-addict father and a caring, determined mother. Like Hart's standup, the book's tone is self-deprecating and honest: "My life began with one of the biggest lies men tell women," he writes. "I'll pull out, I promise." He writes that he inherited his mom's " commitment to hard work and my father's unique sense of humor," as well as the ability to accept reality and move on in life. His father ended up in prison and his older brother began dealing drugs; meanwhile, his mother encouraged him to finish community college but without success. Eventually Hart landed a job as a sneaker salesman in an athletic store. He was outgoing and a jokester, and eventually his coworkers encouraged him to audition at a local comedy club; it was then that he found his calling, noting the crowds' laughs "were almost as good as sex" and very addictive. His relentless drive and firm commitment to his art as a funnyman propelled his career from a stint on the Def Comedy Jam tour to a series of stand-up gigs in New York and eventually Hollywood. Inspiring and thoroughly entertaining, Hart's memoir brings his readers into his hilarious universe of stories and philosophy. (June 6)