An actress’ addictive memoir

This book review is about the memoir, “Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster” by two-time Emmy award-winning actress Kristen Johnston.

I have become obsessed with memoirs. My first was “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, and from there I have fallen in love with stories about real peoples’ lives. Johnston’s memoir is perhaps one of my favorites so far.

For those who don’t know, Kristen Johnston is an actress of film, stage and TV who has done many projects.

Her most well-known role is Sally Solomon from the show “3rd Rock from the Sun” sitcom (and one of my personal favorites) “The Exes.”

“Guts” tells the story of Johnston’s dark past with drugs and alcohol, along with her insecurities and dealing with the harder side of being an actress.

Johnston gives the readers a look into her world and the world of addiction.

However, do not despair—this isn’t a book that’s all doom, gloom and horrid turmoil. Johnston is a comedic actress and it reflects it in her writing.

The author tells us about her awkward school years and how comedy came into her life.

This is an excellent beginning before the heavy seriousness surfaces.

You get the sense that you know her and the way she writes makes you feel like you’re a friend sitting down and talking to her over a cup of coffee.

When it comes to her drug and alcohol abuse, Johnston gives a clear picture of what the world of the addicts and the lives of the people around them are like.

Yes she uses humor, but that can be seen as a creative buffer so it’s not morbidly dark like “Precious” but still retains its serious nature.

The story can be graphic in some parts, but it’s a good scare tactic to help a reader understand what Johnston is trying to convey.

The Good

This book is a fun and witty read despite some of the darker aspects. There is a strong voice and not once does Johnston trail off or make the narration boring.

It’s like hearing her on TV–just now on paper. It’s also a good book for people with addictions as well as their families.

The book shows a person at their lowest and how they rise up to be a better person. I guarantee it will make you understand the hardships that addiction has and that it is hard to get out of.

The Bad

The only thing I can think of and this is with all celebrity biographies: it helps if you like him or her and their work. However, if the their book is well-written, it could make you interested.

In my opinion, some people get very cynical with celebrities for no reason and forget they’re just as human as the rest of us (Those people, my dear readers, are  what I call uninformed). Basically the cynics would say the actor or actress is just trying to get attention and make more money through their book.

For those types of people who bash celebs, stay away from books like these, it would be like assigning you to read them.


Nick Bundarin can be contacted at

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