cover image Me: By Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente

Me: By Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente

. HighBridge Audio, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56511-327-5

It all started with a running gag on Keillor's radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, spoofing Minnesota's governor-elect, Jesse ""The Body"" Ventura. Who better than Keillor, the self-branded Minnesota boy of ""Lake Wobegon"" notoriety, to parody this gloriously cartoonlike political animal from his own territory? This satirical autobiography of professional wrestler Jimmy ""Big Boy"" Valente made a preemptive strike on Ventura's own rumored book deal, beating him to publication. As with most Keillor material, it translates more gracefully as audio than in print. Keillor's timing and delivery are specifically honed to spoken presentation, sharpened by his years doing radio (and aided in places by impersonator Russell as the voice of Valente). Born Clifford Oxnard, Valente is adopted as a child and tormented by the bullies of tough South Minneapolis. He becomes a Navy ""Walrus,"" serving in Vietnam before returning as a 300-lb. hulk to conquer the spandex-tights world of professional wrestling. Taking a challenge from his hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he ultimately runs for political office. Despite his skill, Keillor recklessly throws himself headlong into the material and has trouble sustaining his sharpness for the duration--the joke starts to wears thin. Based on the 1999 Viking hardcover. (Apr.)