My Life Outside the Ring is unexpectedly light and entertaining. It is not an intellectually stimulating window into a complex character’s psyche (although being human, many complexities and dichotomies do occur) but a fun, enjoyable read, ending on a high note.
Hogan’s autobiography begins with the darkest moment of his life, then jumps back in time to detail how he got there, beginning with his childhood in Tampa. The description of his youth includes humorous anecdotes from his struggle with adolescence and the awkwardness of his large size.
In chapters with such titles as “Wrestling with Wresting”, “Learning the Ropes” and “Hulking Up”, he describes his rise to fame and seemingly charmed wrestling career. Hogan confesses he does not like physical conflict and would have never gone into wrestling if it wasn’t staged. Though the fights are fixed, Hogan details numerous injuries sustained in the ring, even explaining the term “blade job” (cutting oneself with a concealed razor-blade to give the fans blood). “The matches may be predetermined; we may not be in there trying to kill each other for real … but the blood, the broken bones, the brutal injuries that happen in the ring? Those, my brother, are as real as it gets,” he writes.
Hogan frankly addresses the scandals that plagued him during his career – including his use of steroids, his rocky marriage with ex-wife Linda, and the car accident involving his son Nick that left Nick’s best friend in a coma and the “hillbilly circus” that ensued. He tells his side of the story – his take on “what really happened” without the biased filter of media outlets, radio jockeys, lawyers and vested interests. Hogan also provides a “behind the scenes” account of his VH1 reality TV show, “Hogan Knows Best.”
Hogan’s autobiography ends on a positive note: in his darkest hour, he finds hope in the form of positive thinking philosophies, managing to reverse his personal downward spiral. “The Secret and all of these other books I started to read at the beginning of 2008 helped me change my life for the better,” he writes. “The thing about the law of attraction is it doesn’t happen overnight. You reap what you sow in life. Call it karma, call it whatever you want, but the negativity that you put into the world will come back around to bite you one way or the other,” muses Hogan. An afterward appended to the book before it went to print details recent positive changes Hogan’s catharsis has brought to his life.
My Life Outside the Ring, by Hulk Hogan with Mark Dagostino, is available in bookstores now.