Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Review of The 400 Pound Male Stripper, by Derrick Shirley

A few months back I heard of the book, "The 400 Pound Male Stripper" by Derrick Shirley, and I'll admit...the title intrigued me. I did a little research, saw a few pics... and from what I could see of the modern day Mr. S., he was NOT 400 pounds.  A new diet book then?
Being what can be kindly referred  to as a "Heavy set man", I was even more curious when I saw a Youtube video promoting his book. (video included at the end of this) So I put it on my "Must read" list.

As luck would have it, a few weeks ago Derrick advertized on Facebook/Twitter that he was giving some copies of his book to anyone who would be willing to write a review. I held my hand up tall in a Horshakian manner and yelled.. "Ohhhh, Ohhhhh!!!!  Mr. Shirley, CALL ON ME!!!!!' Annnnnnd.. he did :-)
The first thing that I would have to say about the book is that it is incredibly honest. I would think that if a person was going to write their life's journey, they would omit the skeletons in the closet. Derrick does no such thing. He bares his soul and maybe that, more than anything, is what makes this such a powerful read. It's also part of what makes it a book that people can identify with. Whether you are a Man or Woman, or Person of colour you almost get a feeling of liberation. "Yes.. I understand that" or "I've been there"..... "I get it".
The second thing I will say is that it's not a self help book(or a Diet Book). They tell you things like "If you just {Insert whatever here}, you will fix your problems". Derrick does not do that; he just talks about his journey and we can take from it what we like.
I found myself smiling through it, I even became angry at one point. I tossed the book on the couch and walked away. Why? Like I said, it's very honest, and he had done something and it reminded me of something that I had done. Basically, I was angry at myself. I took a little time to deal with those emotions, and then got back to reading.
 It's hard to describe something you are excited about, without getting into content, but I don't want to take away from the experience of anyone who will read it...and I'm hoping that lots more people will. 
Instead I will tell you of what I took from it.
I realized that I frequently don't do the things that I love, because I'm doing things that I like - I'm changing that.
I've started some journals - and it is sooooo cool and freeing. I've even forgiven myself of some past regrets that I have chosen not to think about for a long time.
Maybe most importantly, when I read about this person's journey, someone who was "Just a Guy" and yet came through everything that life could throw at him better and stronger, I realized that I too am stronger than that which would hold me back. And that, right there, may be the greatest gift that this book offers.
 As I read the very last paragraph, my Daughter looked at me and said "What's wrong Dad?". I looked at her, gave her a tearful beaming smile and said, "Sweetie, it had a very happy ending".
I'm a big believer in happy endings - and in my own case, I found a few tools to add to my repertoire in this book.
Thank You Mr. Shirley, for your honesty and sharing. I have a place reserved on my bookshelf for your next offering. I hope you don't let it get too dusty for waiting :-)
Peace Kiddies 

Add: As the book I read was given to me... and in an effort to pay it forward... I will give a copy to a random person who comments here or "Likes" and Share's on Facebook/Twitter.  :-D

Derricks Shirley's Youtube Video