Hardcover è Hollywood Park MOBI Þ

Hardcover è Hollywood Park MOBI Þ


Hollywood Park ➸ Hollywood Park Free ➮ Author Mikel Jollett – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERHOLLYWOOD PARK is a remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life Mikel Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults and subjected to a childhood fill THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERHollywood Park is a remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life Mikel Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty addiction and emotional abuse Yet ultimately his is a story of fierce love and family loyalty told in a raw poetic voice that signals the emergence of a uniuely gifted writer We were never young We were just too afraid of ourselves No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went They would arrive like ghosts visiting us for a morning an afternoon They would sit with us or walk around the grounds to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed Then they’d disappear again for weeks for months for years leaving us alone with our memories and dreams our uestions and confusion So begins Hollywood Park Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir His story opens in an experimental commune in California which later morphed into the Church of Synanon one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults Per the leader’s mandate all children including Jollett and his older brother were separated from their parents when they were six months old and handed over to the cult’s “School” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother But in many ways life outside Synanon was even harder and erraticIn his raw poetic and powerful voice Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty trauma emotional abuse delinuency and the lure of drugs and alcohol Raised by a clinically depressed mother tormented by his angry older brother subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step fathers and longing for contact with his father a former heroin addict and ex con Jollett slowly often painfully builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and eventually to finding his voice as a writer and musician Hollywood Park is told at first through the limited perspective of a child and then broadens as Jollett begins to understand the world around him Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.

  • Hardcover
  • 384 pages
  • Hollywood Park
  • Mikel Jollett
  • English
  • 10 November 2014
  • 9781250621566

About the Author: Mikel Jollett

Mikel Jollett is the frontman of the indie band The Airborne Toxic Event Prior to forming the band Jollett graduated with honors from Stanford University He was an on air columnist for NPR's All Things Considered an editor at large for Men's Health and an editor at Filter magazine His fiction has been published in McSweeney's.



10 thoughts on “Hollywood Park

  1. Emily May Emily May says:

    We were never young No one told us who we were or where all our parents went They would arrive like ghosts visiting us for a morning an afternoon They would sit with us or walk around the grounds to laugh or cry or toss us up in the air while we screamed Then they'd disappear again for weeks for months for years leaving us alone with our memories and dreams our uestions and confusion Weeellll I hadn't planned to read Hollywood Park It was an unsolicited arc that turned up with some others but when I saw it was about a man who was born into a cult I thought the premise was interesting enough to warrant a second glance I didn't take in the name of the author at first Then I opened the front page stared at the author's picture and I realized I recognized him Glancing through the description I realized it was Mikel Jollett lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event and writer of one of my favourite songs of all timeActually I need a moment for this I apologize in advance but I could write an essay on this song Like books I love songs that tell stories and this is one that captures an encounter between a man and his ex with such amazing imagery the bar lights the piano her laugh shivers Not only that but I think it is an incredible piece of music and I'm not even someone who usually notices that kind of thing But the opening blast of classical that gives way to the delicate opening notes that accompany the first words then the drum beat that comes in like you can hear the guy's heart pounding all of it building to a loud crescendo as this guy basically has a breakdown And it's kinda sad sexy? Like I can feel the sexual chemistry between the two of them but it's sad because they're not together Did I mention that I fucking love this song?Okay okay moving on What I didn't know is that Jollett was born into Synanon a cult that initially promised its members a drug rehabilitation program but instead enforced strict rules carried out mass beatings and separated babies from their parents at six months old Mikel was one of these babies One day a woman who was a virtual stranger to him came and told him they were leaving Apparently this was his motherThough they escaped the effects of Synanon were deep and permanent For a long time the family lived in poverty and Mikel's mother who was later diagnosed with a mental disorder offered no source of affection or comfort for Mikel and his older brother TonyIt turns out that Jollett can write memoirs almost as well as he can write songs He has a very arresting and engaging style a touch poetic but not overly so and I especially liked how he wrote in present tense and in an age appropriate voice which reminded me of The Glass Castle Because of this we escape Synanon with a young scared boy who is confused by the world around him and his mother's mentions of Thatasshole Reagan; then later we feel the angst and frustration of a teenager pushing back against his mother's demands and longing to be with his dad his hero; and finally the book and Jollett reach maturity and it truly feels like we've lived a lifetime with him Hollywood Park is in many ways a way for the author to handle his grief over the loss of his father His father is the shining star of this book and his love and personality come bounding off the page It just shows how even someone who has messed up a lot of their own life by being a convict and an addict can have such a huge inspiring impact on someone else through their kindness and support Mikel Jollett did not have an easy start in life to say the least but he made it through with the help of his beloved father and of course music The book is admittedly a little longer than is really necessary but well worth reading for those looking for hope and inspiration mixed in with their tragedy Facebook | Instagram

  2. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    What do you do when you’re a scared shitless kid that’s been faking it for so long? You bury it You polish your smile and study until you can’t even focus your eyes You buy yourself a big red sweater with an S across the chest just like the superchild you once were You try to prove them all wrong You attempt to outrun it But then you get injured and your mom goes insane and a kind man in a blue shirt with a trim black beard uses the words Emotional abuse Crossing physical boundaries Trauma Neglect I feel like a blank space covered in skin Who is that masked man? If all of your life you’ve worn a mask what do you see in the mirror? A reflection of someone you aren’t How can you know who you really are or who you might become if you see your world through cut out holes? And the world never gets to see you never gets to relate to you the real you behind your facade Kinda tough to live your best life that way Kinda tough to live a real life that way And how did that mask get there in the first place? And how did it impact the nuts and bolts of your life? And is there any hope you can tear it off without losing the you beneath pull it off slowly maybe un sew it from your face a stitch at a time?Mikel Jollett image from his Twitter Who is that masked man the kid from the cult the pre teen looking for thrills the teenager who nearly killed himself the long distance runner the Stanford student the substance abuser the serial spoiler of relationships the music world journalist the successful rock musician the wonderful writer? Or are they all just different masks? Synenon leader Charles Dederich Image from San Diego State University The impetus to write the book was a recent one Jollett had been writing and performing music with his band Airborne Toxic Event since 2005 a step sideways from his intention to pursue a writing career and a closely linked redirection from his work as a music journalist Then in 2015 his father died and Jollett says he was overwhelmed with grief and confusion “I wondered why it hit me so hard so I went back into my past—that day my mom took us out of the cult I went in to lockdown and started to write” He stayed with it for three years from the PW interviewThere was a lot to write about This coming of age story begins when he was five Jollett had the bad luck to be born into a bad situation His parents were members of Synenon a place that came to public prominence in the 1960s in California a goto drug rehab community for a while People charged with substance related crimes were often sent there by California courts It probably did some good in the beginning but as the leader of Synenon Chuck Dederich became and unhinged and power mad his not totally crazy community became a totally crazy cult Not the best start for a new life One of the rules in Synenon was that children were to be raised communally So even though mom andor dad might be around they were not the ones providing care Have a nice life “It was an orphanage” Grandma screams “That’s what you call a place where strangers raise your kids” Grandma says that mom doesn’t even know who put us to bed or who woke us up or who taught us to read She says we were sitting ducks We did play Duck Duck Goose a lot “You made them orphans Gerry” Grandma will point at us from her chair as we pretend not to listen We follow Mik’s journey from his earliest memories of Synenon raised by people other than his parents until Mom flees with him and his older brother in the dark of night Most orphanages do not send goons to track down people including children who leave Even out of the Synenon cult Mik his brother Tony and his mom Gerry were not safe Mik gets to see a fellow “splittee” get beaten nearly to death by Synenon enforcers outside his new home Facing your dark side image from Narcissism and emotional abusecoukIf this decidedly unstable beginning was not enough of a challenge his mother was not the best of all possible parents Is that a mom? Someone who you can’t ever remember not loving you? I know Mom doesn’t think that’s what it is but I doShe tells me I’m her son and she wanted kids so she wouldn’t be alone any and now she has us and it is a son’s job to take care of his mother Gerry was just a weeeee bit narcissistic to her children’s decided disadvantage It would take Mik years to learn that the usual arrangement was that parents take care of children Image from collectiveevolutioncomJollett takes us through many stages of his life successfully modulating the narrative to fit the age he is portraying in each As he grows his awareness increases and his interests broaden It makes him appropriately an unreliable narrator as young Mik does not yet have the tools to see past the misinformation he is being given It took my brother and I a long long time to piece together the reality that a functional adult might have about the situation that we’d escaped a cult that had once done good things for addicts including our father that our mother was severely depressed and that these experiences were very uniue in some ways and uite common in others So I wrote the book from that perspective at least at the beginning that of a child trying to piece together the reality of the changing world around him; because that’s how I experienced it There were mysteries What is a restaurant? We’d never been in one What is a car? A city? And most devastatingly what is a family? Because we simply didn’t know from the Celadon interviewBeing born into a cult and having a depressed toxically narcissistic mother were two strikes already but then pop and other paternal family members had spent considerable time behind bars and in both his paternal and his maternal trees there was a history of substance abuse of one sort or many You’d think Mik was destined to wind up an alcoholic andor a drug addict and in jail Is genetics destiny? This is a core battle he faced in his life Another was to come to terms with how his strange upbringing affected how he related to other human beings particularly to women He talks a lot about how he presented a façade to the world while keeping his truest self well back if he even knew his true self at all Robert Smith mask Image from funkyBunkycoJollett endured years of poverty and emotional abuse He found outlets in criminal acts and substance abuse But he also found other ways to fill his needs and channel his creativity A close friend introduced him to the music that would push him in a new constructive direction I go to a place in my head where I can be alone Listening to Robert Smith sing his happy songs about how sad he feels is like he’s there too like he has his Secret Place in his head where he goes and since he wrote a song about it he’s right there in my headphones so we’re in this Secret Place together Me and Robert It’s a place where we are allowed to be sad instead of feeling like freaks of nature us weirdos and orphans A major change in Mik’s life is when he begins spending time with his father Jimmy and his father’s significant other in Los Angeles first summers then at age 11 moving there permanently Gerry having moved to Oregon with the boys when they were fleeing Synenon It is a whole new world for him there not just offering different ways to get into trouble but the opportunity to get to know Jimmy and his father’s family something that was not really possible in his earliest years particularly as his mother had portrayed Jimmy negatively I’d been told so many terrible things about him at a very young age He was a heroin addict an ex con who’d done years in prison He “left my mother for a tramp” That was a common refrain But none of it turned out to matter He was clean by the time I was born and all I ever knew once I got to spend time with him was this guy who would do anything for me He was affectionate He took us everywhere He cared so deeply about our basic happiness He had a great laugh and a uiet wisdom about him He never cared what I became in life He wanted me to be honest to be interesting or simply funny and to be around from the Celadon interviewThe emotional core of the book is connections Jollett has for good or ill with the people in his life friends and particularly familyJimmy was fond of betting on the ponies He took Mik with him once he started visiting LA Hollywood Park is the track they attended It is where Mik has meaningful heart to hearts with his father It is a place that lives in his imagination as well a place where he can connect with his family across time Will Mik grow up to be a ”Jollett Man” a bad ass tough guy who leans hard toward wildness or something other? There are certainly strains in him that offer other possibilities His athleticism intellectual curiosity academic licks creativity musical talent and stick to itive ness offer hope for a future different from his father’sImage from The Smiths and Morrissey FB pagesAs an adult Mik finds a career in music and gains insights into the musical creative process from some household names He gains as well insights into his emotional state that help him understand the life he has been living But the real core is how he got to that place to begin with Image from InvaluablcomJollett employs literary tools to great effect For example as an eight year old in Oregon his family raised and slaughtered rabbits for food In addition to this being a sign of the family’s poverty it is clear that young Mik senses that he too is being raised in an emotional cage to provide sustenance of another sort His writing is smooth and often moving There are sum up portions at the end of chapters that pull together what that chapter has been about These bits tend toward the self analytical and are often poetic music makes me feel like I belong somewhere that this person I don’t know the one who swims beneath his life in a dark chaotic unknowable place this one has a voice too Mikel Jollett has written a remarkable memoir offering not just a look at his dramatic and event filled personal journey but a peek out from the masks he wore to the times he lived through While his actions and experiences covered a considerable swath there is always throughout his moving tale a connection to family to his mother father brother various step parents his extended family and closest friends The power of these connections caused him considerable difficulty but also made it possible for him to weather some major life storms The odds are you will be moved by Jollett’s celebration of real human bonding cringe at some of the challenges he had to endure mumble an “oh no” or worse as you see the missteps along his path cheer for the triumphs when they come and luxuriate in the beauty of his writing Whatever else you may get from the book it is clear that Mikel Jollett is unmasked as an outstanding writer Hollywood Park is a sure winner of a read Bet on it One sentence in The Scarlet Letter stood out to me as I read on the edge of my bed I marked the page “No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true” It made me think of the Secret Place the place I hide with Robert Smith I know this face I’ve learned not to tell anyone at school about Synanon or Dad in prison orMom in the bed staring up at the ceiling It’s a mask this face you create for others one you hide behind as you laugh at jokes you don’t understand and skip uncomfortable details entire years of your life as if they simply didn’t happen Jollett l with dad Jimmy and brother Tony image from Publishers WeeklyReview posted – May 15 2020Publication date – May 5 2020I received an ARE of this book from Celadon in return for an honest review But do they really know who they gave this book to? I could be anyone pretending to be anyoneThanks to MC tooIn the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25% from 20000 to 15000 characters In order to accommodate the text beyond that I have moved it to the comments section directly below

  3. Julie Julie says:

    Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett is a 2020 Celadon Books publication An unconventional journey fraught with adversity but ultimately an inspirational memoirTo be honest I went into this memoir blind I think I added it mainly due to the mention of a cult a topic I am often drawn to However before starting the book I Googled Jollett and listened to his music wondering why I had not stumbled across him earlier But despite my unfamiliarity with the author I found myself pulled into his original approach in which he uses the voice of his childhoodmaking it seem as though we are living these experiences right along with him It is instantaneously obvious that Mikel’s upbringing is irregular to say the least Although I have heard of many cults I was not familiar with Synanon the cult Jollett lived in until the age of five when his mother finally escaped Again I did a little Googling and learned that the cult was supposed to be a drug rehabilitation center but had turned violent While it is a relief to know the family made it out of that situation Mikel’s childhood is far from stable Addiction narcissism and a lack of traditional parenting forces Mikel to become wizened beyond his years This is a powerful compelling memoir Jollet’s extraordinary writing techniue gives one a poignant look at addiction and the emotional drain that reigns on all of those involved His words are tender and merciful his memories affecting and his courage inspiring Despite the painful scars Mikel’s hard work and personal growth have broken chains providing him with the strength and insight to become a productive and successful adult Overall a compelling memoir I am so glad I took a chance on

  4. Barbara Barbara says:

    Author Mikel JollettMikel Jollett frontman for the indie rock band Airborne Toxic Event had a tumultuous childhood Airborne Toxic EventMikel Jollett performingJollett's parents were members of Synanon a California cult that began as a drug rehab organization Synanon was founded in 1958 and aspired to be a place where people lived all together being honest and free and not taking drugs SynanonSynanon started as a rehab facility for drug addictsSynanon's mission was to change the world for the better but it soon devolved into a dangerous violent cult that separated families By the time Mikel was born in 1974 six month old babies were taken from their parents and put in an orphanage like 'school' where they were raised by strangers and rarely or in some cases never saw their parents In Synanon children were separated from their parents Mikel recalls We had Demonstrators who were like teachers and classes and songs and I was lucky because I had a Bonnie She would hug me every day and call me Suuuuuun and ask me what I want for a snack Mikel also had friends Cassidy Guy Dmitri and Noah Mikel even got to see his parents on rare occasions and happily remembers his dad Jim Jollett riding up on a motorcycle and playing with him at the beachMikel with his father JimMikel's older brother Tony was especially isolated at Synanon Mikel writes Tony used to sit alone at the edge of the playground all day He didn't trust the adults and he didn't play with other kids that much Maybe it's because someone did bad things to himThe kids would get hit really hard or locked in a closet and there was no mom or dad to tell because they lived somewhere else and you couldn't even remember their facesWhen Mikel was five and Tony was seven their mother Gerry staged a nighttime rescue and fled from the cult a risky move that could result in beatings and even murder The Jolletts managed to escape however and Mikel and Tony finally got to meet their maternal Grandma and Grandpa in San Jose as well as aunts uncles and cousins an extended 'family' that bewildered Mikel who couldn't imagine having relativesMikel and Tony's father Jim left Synanon as well but moved in with another woman Mikel with his father JimMikel and Tony with their father JimMikel's mom was angry and hurt by her husband's desertion and longed for 'a man to take care of her' Thus when the family moved to Berkeley a former cult member named Phil joined them Phil was almost a father figure to the boys until two Synanon thugs caught up with him Mikel who saw what happened remembers The men have something like masks the color of skin that push their noses flat against their faces Even in the masks you can tell they both have shaved heads which means they're from Synanon The goons beat Phil to a pulp with skinny black clubs then asked a group of gawking children Do any of you know where Tony and Mikel are? Luckily the kids didn't answer and the Jollett family fled to Salem Oregon where Mikel's mom thought they'd be safeWhen Synanon became a cult members had to shave their headsLife in Oregon was hard Gerry got involved with one man after another all of them addicts of some kind Thus though the boyfriends might be kind and even avuncular to Tony and Mikel they inevitably took off or died after a while The family was also desperately poor Mom worked as a counselor for ex convict drug addicts but money was scarce and the Jolletts wore thrift store clothes and raised rabbits for food For a long time the family ate rabbits most nights Mikel notes Mom makes baked rabbit and lemon rabbit She makes stir fry rabbit with peppers and onions and 'rabbit surprise' which is leftover baked rabbit that has been cut up and put into a casserole dish Mikel relates an amusing but stomach churning story about Mom serving the same increasingly gluey rabbit stew four days in a rowuntil it was a grayish brown mass in the center of the pot 😝Baked rabbitRabbit stewBesides being deprived of material things Mikel and Tony got no emotional support from their mother who suffered from depression and other psychological maladies Gerry even seemed to inhabit an alternate reality When Mikel told his mother I'm scared of the Synanon men Mom she would say No you're not You're happy because you're with your mother now When Mikel told his mother he was having nightmares about Phil's pummeling she'd insist You're fine You weren't even there Then Gerry would lament This has been really hard on me Mom's denial of Mikel's feelings and constant deflection to HER feelings wasn't a one off but went on for years Mikel's concerns were dismissed and he was expected to take care of his mother When Mom was sad or crying Mikel would lean against her and say It's okay Mom One day at a time and other phrases he picked up from AA and Alanon The Jolletts attended numerous 12 step meetings and AA family campouts because 'addiction is a family problem' The Jolletts attended many AA meetingsTony who was lonely and damaged than Mikel had an even harder time than his brother Tony was constantly angry compulsively acted out and bullied Mikel relentlessly Eventually Tony and then Mikel moved to Los Angeles to live with their father who was by then cohabiting with Bonnie Mikel's affectionate caretaker from Synanon The boys would return to Oregon during summer breaks and Mikel's visits with Mom were always difficult for him Gerry would continuously lament her situation and make Mikel feel guilty for 'deserting his mother' Even though Dad was a former drug addict a onetime criminal and an ex convict he and Bonnie were the saviors that gave the boys a stable loving home In addition Bonnie's extended Jewish family treated the boys like beloved mishpucha Nevertheless as pre teens and teens Tony and Mikel constantly snuck out drank partied used drugs and got into trouble Both boys also had problems sustaining relationships with girls because of their abandonment issues from childhoodDespite misbehaving and skiving off school Mikel was a gifted student who ran track finished high school and eventually graduated from Stanford University Mikel had been obsessed with music since he was a youth and took it up professionally as an adult writing articles about concerts interviewing rock stars and finally becoming a singersongwriter with his own band Everything Mikel did was made difficult by the emotional and psychological damage he'd experienced as a child Mikel exhaustively maybe a bit too exhaustively documents his constant disorientation; the ongoing difficulties with his mother; and the PTSD like symptoms he experienced for decadesMikel discusses many things about himself and his life including his round Dutch cheeks and large childhood overbite; his Dad teaching him to beat up a school bully; his Dad taking him to Hollywood Park to bet on the horse races; Tony's Goth phase and drug addiction; the illnesses and deaths of various family members; and much He also recalls happy times with friends and the wonderful relatives that supported him unconditionally Mikel's brother Tony JollettMikel with his father and brotherIn the end Mikel reuired extensive therapy to become a whole healthy person and it's gratifying to see that with great effort a seriously damaged child can become a successful adult The book tackles serious subjects but does contain some humor For instance Mom talked so much about Thatasshole Reagan that Mikel was shocked to learn the presidential candidate's real name was Ronald 😊Ronald Reagan aka Thatasshole ReaganAnd Grandma Juliette Bonnie's mom didn't care if Mikel heard dirty jokes He recalls If someone says Mom where is the fuckin' ice? I've been looking all over for it she puts her hands over my ears and says Don't you ever say the word 'ice' in front of my grandson This is a well written poignant memoir that's ultimately optimistic about healing redemption and love Highly recommendedThank you to Celadon Books and Mikel Jollett for a copy of the book and the View Master with pictures You can follow my reviews at

  5. Katie B Katie B says:

    This was a well written memoir and once again proves my point you don't necessarily have to be familiar with the person ahead of time in order to appreciate their story Mikel spent the first few years of his life in the Church of Synanon which was a cult Thankfully he and his family escaped but obviously the experience is something that stays with you and the long term effects is just one of the subjects Mikel explores in his memoir The main reason I chose to read this one is because I have this odd fascination with cults I'm always curious about the reasons why people end up in a cult what the heck goes on while they are in a cult as well how they manage to leave The Church of Synannon in which Mikel's family were members mandated children at 6 months old be separated from their parents and raised in the cult's School So Mikel and his older brother didn't even have much interaction with their parents until after they left the cult And while leaving the cult was the right thing to do it didn't mean that Mikel's life was smooth sailing afterwards He was five years old when his mother took him and his brother and escaped so the book focuses mostly on the aftermath of leaving a cult although he does share his memories of his time being raised in what was essentially an orphanage type environmentI think Mikel Jollett is a talented writer and I loved how he told his story Rather than talk about his childhood from only an adult perspective he relates his experiences of the cult and growing up after escaping in of a kid's narration style If you have read the fictional book Room it's something similar to that method of storytelling Mikel even as a child is pretty insightful and wise beyond his years Given this is a memoir about his life eventually Mikel's perspective goes from young boy to teen and then adulthood And it truly felt like I was reading the words and thoughts of a child and then teen and then an adult It might sound like a simple thing to do but I don't think most writers could have pulled it off so flawlessly There were two things that really stood out for me in this memoir I thought the topic of addiction was handled in a way in which you could really understand the devastating effects it has not just on the person who is addicted but also on loved ones And without going into too much detail Mikel's mother was someone I found fascinating to read about and I appreciate how the dymanics between mother and son was explored in the book Definitely check this one out especially if you enjoy memoirsThank you to Celadon Books for sending me an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review

  6. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Terrific engaging intimateAudiobook Memoirread by the author Meet Mikel JollettHe’s a pretty likable guy with a story to share He intimately shares his traumatic childhoodI felt like I was eavesdropping on Mikel’s personal private mutterings during some of the most wretched years of his life He doesn’t shy away from sharing about the overpowering mentally ill adults who raised him in the cult environment without his own parentsthat he eventually escaped A grim memoir that is sometimes sidesplittinghilarious filled with nostalgia tidbits french fries and orange crush soda anyone?Mostly it’s heartbreaking but hopefula childhood filled withdespair and love abandonment and love poverty and loveabuse and loveemptiness and loveconfusion and lovebrutality and loveaddiction and loveeducation and lovefood and lovesibling and family complexitiescompassion and loveredemption and love truthful real raw wacky crazy troubling storiesa true story that’s sad with a happy ending Mikel Jollett is the frontman of the indie band Airborne Toxic Event He graduated from Stanford University with honors

  7. Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader says:

    One of my favorite ways to “consume” a memoir is through an audiobook narrated by the author and that was the case with Hollywood Park Also something I want to mention is there is music included at transitions and Mikel Jollett is a musician so this was another addition that added to the character of this bookMikel and his brother were born into a famous cult where they were separated from their parents at only six months of age One day Mikel’s mother picks them up and they leave the cult but the mark of that experience shaped Mikel’s life afterwards even into adulthoodI found the memoir to be thoughtful and well written There was this feeling as I read and listened that I was growing up with Mikel because as he grew up so did his way of expressing his experiences if that makes sense The tone of the story matched the age in which he was living at the time Overall Mikel’s story is an honest raw authentic journey from poverty and addiction to hope healing and successI received a gifted copy All opinions are my own Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog wwwjennifertarheelreadercom and instagram wwwinstagramcomtarheelreader

  8. Debbie Debbie says:

    48 rounded up nearly pogo stick materialOh the languageI’m a sucker for a good memoir but at the same time I’m picky Your life better be fascinating or I’ll leave you where I found you alone in my pile of inanimate books If you come alive I’ll dance with you Well this one roped me in and swung me around BUT I forgot to say—if your life isn’t completely captivating his life is medium captivating for the love of god be a wordsmith woo me with your proseAnd man did I get wooed This guy can write He writes from his heart so I was instantly pulled in I really got a sense of him—his problems with attachment his feelings of shame the abuse he endured his loneliness He doesn’t just show us his heart he shows us his head He’s constantly analyzing himself—which in memoirs always runs the risk of sounding clinical or academic or self indulgent Not to worry Jollet just sounds smart and his language is poetic and powerfulJollet spent the first five years in a cult one of the most famous and dangerous ones in the country All the kids lived together and rarely got visits from their parents It was like an orphanage The book opens just as his mom escapes with him It’s cool the way the memoir begins because Jollet often uses a 5 year old’s language and perspective One of my only gripes is that I was expecting to hear about the cult Couldn’t happen though since he left at age 5 and his memories of the cult are scarce The book blurb writers knew that the tease of a cult would draw readers in as it did me I felt tricked but I uickIy forgave the trick since Jollett so powerfully zapped me He spent his life going back and forth between his ex con ex druggie dad in California whom he loved and his passive aggressive abusive mother in Oregon Everyone poor His mom had some boyfriends and husbands which of course affected Mikel’s life And there’s a brother Mikel had girlfriends but his relationships fizzled out; he was constantly trying to figure out how it kept happeningI was rooting for Mikel the whole way; he’s so damn likeable It was exciting to see that despite his childhood and despite his poverty he ended up at Stanford Besides being a writer he’s also a musician It’s always heart warming to see a guy succeed when the odds are against him But I think it’s his drive to learn about himself that steals the show He doesn’t just report he analyzes He eventually got himself to a therapist; I loved that he grew so much because of what he learned from therapy In a way the story reminded me of Educated though I’d say his life wasn’t as horrible as that of the writer of that bookBesides being a little bummed that the book didn’t have much about a kid’s life in a cult I had two minor complaints The details of his life as a budding musician bored me; and there was a short bit about AA and its tenets including a few uses of the God word Minor nits thoughI did a lot of highlighting Here are a few uotes that I liked the first being my favorite “It seemed like writers have the most important job in the world to make books to create a connection a kind of telepathy between two minds in which one can inhabit the other”“There seems to be no good answers I can either do something that makes me uncomfortable or feel guilty about refusing it”“I feel like a blank space covered in skin”“Children experience loneliness like shame”“Something about it made sense part revival part confessional part circus—that’s rock and roll”Ultimately this is a story of love and hope all told by a brilliant writer The book was raw but at the same time polished; it read like a really good novel I just reread some of my highlights and now I sit in a happy stupor wanting I would read another book by this guy in a heartbeat Hope he writes short stories or a novel I’ll be the first in lineHighly recommended

  9. Brandice Brandice says:

    I’m the first to admit I can be critical of memoirs understanding they are often deeply personal That said I really enjoyed reading Mikel Jollett’s Hollywood Park detailing his childhood which first began in a cult and then beyond moving back and forth between Oregon living with his mother and California living with his dad There was a lot going on including addiction issues and substantial emotional abuse I had a difficult time feeling any sympathy toward his mother as she was delusional freuently pinning blame and guilt on her two sons Mikel and his brother Tony for all things that went wrong in her life She made many uestionable choices often letting her desire for a nuclear family override making responsible parenting decisions I was pleased to see when she was finally called out on her behavior though sorry to see it took so longIt wasn’t an easy road but I enjoyed seeing the progression of Mikel’s relationship with Tony and with his dad Mikel and Tony’s relationship became stronger as they grew older recognizing all they had been through and were subjected to in their childhood Hollywood Park became a special place for Mikel and his dad and it was nice to read about their bonding that took place there Mikel experienced conflicting feelings as he grew older — Wondering if he was a fraud and could actually rise above the status of his family’s seeming destiny prison or addiction and if he really belonged anywhere else He was accepted to Stanford and graduated with honors Following college he held a few respectable jobs but wasn’t satisfied He became involved in music journalism and eventually formed the band The Airborne Toxic Event I wasn’t familiar with the band prior to reading this story though they have toured the nation and have played at Coachella It took a long time for Mikel to understand and accept that his life wasn’t conventional to make peace with this and still find the joy he deserved I can see some similarities to The Glass Castle yet found his story uniue and compelling in its own right Hollywood Park is a well written worthwhile read about overcoming adversity and finding love and happiness

  10. Norma Norma says:

    Candid revealing and remarkable HOLLYWOOD PARK is a fascinating raw interesting engaging heartfelt and well written memoir that has us following Mikel Jollett through his childhood where he was raised in a commune which turned into the cult Synanon in the 1970’s to present day Now the thing is I rarely ever read memoirs but there was something about this one that totally intrigued me and caught my eye The title grabbed my attention as well as “notorious cult” from the synopsis My eyes and ears definitely perk up when I read or see the word cult because I kind of have this odd fascination with them His childhood was filled with poverty addiction emotional abuse neglect and delinuency Reading his story definitely wasn’t easy for me but Mikel Jollett is very talented and tells his story extremely well and with kindness I loved how he was able to fully immerse us in his childhood by his voice alone and then take us through the years to adulthood We learned how he matured transformed his life and how he dealt with what was given to him at such a young ageI cannot leave this review without mentioning Mikel Jollett’s loving father He was definitely one of the highlights for me and his support and love for his sons totally shined through The audiobook is appealingly and engagingly performed by the author Mikel JollettI honestly didn’t know anything about Mikel Jollet prior to reading this one and it totally worked for me I appreciated listening to and reading his story I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy Memoirs that take you on an emotionally powerful hopeful and insightful journey or if you have a fascination for cultsExpected Publication Date May 26 2020Thank you so much to Mimi from Goodreads for sending me an advanced copy of this book I would also like to thank Librofm Celadon Books and Mikel Jollett for the ALC

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10 thoughts on “Hollywood Park

  1. Emily May Emily May says:

    We were never young No one told us who we were or where all our parents went They would arrive like ghosts visiting us for a morning an afternoon They would sit with us or walk around the grounds to laugh or cry or toss us up in the air while we screamed Then they'd disappear again for weeks for months for years leaving us alone with our memories and dreams our uestions and confusion Weeellll I hadn't planned to read Hollywood Park It was an unsolicited arc that turned up with some others but when I saw it was about a man who was born into a cult I thought the premise was interesting enough to warrant a second glance I didn't take in the name of the author at first Then I opened the front page stared at the author's picture and I realized I recognized him Glancing through the description I realized it was Mikel Jollett lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event and writer of one of my favourite songs of all timeActually I need a moment for this I apologize in advance but I could write an essay on this song Like books I love songs that tell stories and this is one that captures an encounter between a man and his ex with such amazing imagery the bar lights the piano her laugh shivers Not only that but I think it is an incredible piece of music and I'm not even someone who usually notices that kind of thing But the opening blast of classical that gives way to the delicate opening notes that accompany the first words then the drum beat that comes in like you can hear the guy's heart pounding all of it building to a loud crescendo as this guy basically has a breakdown And it's kinda sad sexy? Like I can feel the sexual chemistry between the two of them but it's sad because they're not together Did I mention that I fucking love this song?Okay okay moving on What I didn't know is that Jollett was born into Synanon a cult that initially promised its members a drug rehabilitation program but instead enforced strict rules carried out mass beatings and separated babies from their parents at six months old Mikel was one of these babies One day a woman who was a virtual stranger to him came and told him they were leaving Apparently this was his motherThough they escaped the effects of Synanon were deep and permanent For a long time the family lived in poverty and Mikel's mother who was later diagnosed with a mental disorder offered no source of affection or comfort for Mikel and his older brother TonyIt turns out that Jollett can write memoirs almost as well as he can write songs He has a very arresting and engaging style a touch poetic but not overly so and I especially liked how he wrote in present tense and in an age appropriate voice which reminded me of The Glass Castle Because of this we escape Synanon with a young scared boy who is confused by the world around him and his mother's mentions of Thatasshole Reagan; then later we feel the angst and frustration of a teenager pushing back against his mother's demands and longing to be with his dad his hero; and finally the book and Jollett reach maturity and it truly feels like we've lived a lifetime with him Hollywood Park is in many ways a way for the author to handle his grief over the loss of his father His father is the shining star of this book and his love and personality come bounding off the page It just shows how even someone who has messed up a lot of their own life by being a convict and an addict can have such a huge inspiring impact on someone else through their kindness and support Mikel Jollett did not have an easy start in life to say the least but he made it through with the help of his beloved father and of course music The book is admittedly a little longer than is really necessary but well worth reading for those looking for hope and inspiration mixed in with their tragedy Facebook | Instagram

  2. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    What do you do when you’re a scared shitless kid that’s been faking it for so long? You bury it You polish your smile and study until you can’t even focus your eyes You buy yourself a big red sweater with an S across the chest just like the superchild you once were You try to prove them all wrong You attempt to outrun it But then you get injured and your mom goes insane and a kind man in a blue shirt with a trim black beard uses the words Emotional abuse Crossing physical boundaries Trauma Neglect I feel like a blank space covered in skin Who is that masked man? If all of your life you’ve worn a mask what do you see in the mirror? A reflection of someone you aren’t How can you know who you really are or who you might become if you see your world through cut out holes? And the world never gets to see you never gets to relate to you the real you behind your facade Kinda tough to live your best life that way Kinda tough to live a real life that way And how did that mask get there in the first place? And how did it impact the nuts and bolts of your life? And is there any hope you can tear it off without losing the you beneath pull it off slowly maybe un sew it from your face a stitch at a time?Mikel Jollett image from his Twitter Who is that masked man the kid from the cult the pre teen looking for thrills the teenager who nearly killed himself the long distance runner the Stanford student the substance abuser the serial spoiler of relationships the music world journalist the successful rock musician the wonderful writer? Or are they all just different masks? Synenon leader Charles Dederich Image from San Diego State University The impetus to write the book was a recent one Jollett had been writing and performing music with his band Airborne Toxic Event since 2005 a step sideways from his intention to pursue a writing career and a closely linked redirection from his work as a music journalist Then in 2015 his father died and Jollett says he was overwhelmed with grief and confusion “I wondered why it hit me so hard so I went back into my past—that day my mom took us out of the cult I went in to lockdown and started to write” He stayed with it for three years from the PW interviewThere was a lot to write about This coming of age story begins when he was five Jollett had the bad luck to be born into a bad situation His parents were members of Synenon a place that came to public prominence in the 1960s in California a goto drug rehab community for a while People charged with substance related crimes were often sent there by California courts It probably did some good in the beginning but as the leader of Synenon Chuck Dederich became and unhinged and power mad his not totally crazy community became a totally crazy cult Not the best start for a new life One of the rules in Synenon was that children were to be raised communally So even though mom andor dad might be around they were not the ones providing care Have a nice life “It was an orphanage” Grandma screams “That’s what you call a place where strangers raise your kids” Grandma says that mom doesn’t even know who put us to bed or who woke us up or who taught us to read She says we were sitting ducks We did play Duck Duck Goose a lot “You made them orphans Gerry” Grandma will point at us from her chair as we pretend not to listen We follow Mik’s journey from his earliest memories of Synenon raised by people other than his parents until Mom flees with him and his older brother in the dark of night Most orphanages do not send goons to track down people including children who leave Even out of the Synenon cult Mik his brother Tony and his mom Gerry were not safe Mik gets to see a fellow “splittee” get beaten nearly to death by Synenon enforcers outside his new home Facing your dark side image from Narcissism and emotional abusecoukIf this decidedly unstable beginning was not enough of a challenge his mother was not the best of all possible parents Is that a mom? Someone who you can’t ever remember not loving you? I know Mom doesn’t think that’s what it is but I doShe tells me I’m her son and she wanted kids so she wouldn’t be alone any and now she has us and it is a son’s job to take care of his mother Gerry was just a weeeee bit narcissistic to her children’s decided disadvantage It would take Mik years to learn that the usual arrangement was that parents take care of children Image from collectiveevolutioncomJollett takes us through many stages of his life successfully modulating the narrative to fit the age he is portraying in each As he grows his awareness increases and his interests broaden It makes him appropriately an unreliable narrator as young Mik does not yet have the tools to see past the misinformation he is being given It took my brother and I a long long time to piece together the reality that a functional adult might have about the situation that we’d escaped a cult that had once done good things for addicts including our father that our mother was severely depressed and that these experiences were very uniue in some ways and uite common in others So I wrote the book from that perspective at least at the beginning that of a child trying to piece together the reality of the changing world around him; because that’s how I experienced it There were mysteries What is a restaurant? We’d never been in one What is a car? A city? And most devastatingly what is a family? Because we simply didn’t know from the Celadon interviewBeing born into a cult and having a depressed toxically narcissistic mother were two strikes already but then pop and other paternal family members had spent considerable time behind bars and in both his paternal and his maternal trees there was a history of substance abuse of one sort or many You’d think Mik was destined to wind up an alcoholic andor a drug addict and in jail Is genetics destiny? This is a core battle he faced in his life Another was to come to terms with how his strange upbringing affected how he related to other human beings particularly to women He talks a lot about how he presented a façade to the world while keeping his truest self well back if he even knew his true self at all Robert Smith mask Image from funkyBunkycoJollett endured years of poverty and emotional abuse He found outlets in criminal acts and substance abuse But he also found other ways to fill his needs and channel his creativity A close friend introduced him to the music that would push him in a new constructive direction I go to a place in my head where I can be alone Listening to Robert Smith sing his happy songs about how sad he feels is like he’s there too like he has his Secret Place in his head where he goes and since he wrote a song about it he’s right there in my headphones so we’re in this Secret Place together Me and Robert It’s a place where we are allowed to be sad instead of feeling like freaks of nature us weirdos and orphans A major change in Mik’s life is when he begins spending time with his father Jimmy and his father’s significant other in Los Angeles first summers then at age 11 moving there permanently Gerry having moved to Oregon with the boys when they were fleeing Synenon It is a whole new world for him there not just offering different ways to get into trouble but the opportunity to get to know Jimmy and his father’s family something that was not really possible in his earliest years particularly as his mother had portrayed Jimmy negatively I’d been told so many terrible things about him at a very young age He was a heroin addict an ex con who’d done years in prison He “left my mother for a tramp” That was a common refrain But none of it turned out to matter He was clean by the time I was born and all I ever knew once I got to spend time with him was this guy who would do anything for me He was affectionate He took us everywhere He cared so deeply about our basic happiness He had a great laugh and a uiet wisdom about him He never cared what I became in life He wanted me to be honest to be interesting or simply funny and to be around from the Celadon interviewThe emotional core of the book is connections Jollett has for good or ill with the people in his life friends and particularly familyJimmy was fond of betting on the ponies He took Mik with him once he started visiting LA Hollywood Park is the track they attended It is where Mik has meaningful heart to hearts with his father It is a place that lives in his imagination as well a place where he can connect with his family across time Will Mik grow up to be a ”Jollett Man” a bad ass tough guy who leans hard toward wildness or something other? There are certainly strains in him that offer other possibilities His athleticism intellectual curiosity academic licks creativity musical talent and stick to itive ness offer hope for a future different from his father’sImage from The Smiths and Morrissey FB pagesAs an adult Mik finds a career in music and gains insights into the musical creative process from some household names He gains as well insights into his emotional state that help him understand the life he has been living But the real core is how he got to that place to begin with Image from InvaluablcomJollett employs literary tools to great effect For example as an eight year old in Oregon his family raised and slaughtered rabbits for food In addition to this being a sign of the family’s poverty it is clear that young Mik senses that he too is being raised in an emotional cage to provide sustenance of another sort His writing is smooth and often moving There are sum up portions at the end of chapters that pull together what that chapter has been about These bits tend toward the self analytical and are often poetic music makes me feel like I belong somewhere that this person I don’t know the one who swims beneath his life in a dark chaotic unknowable place this one has a voice too Mikel Jollett has written a remarkable memoir offering not just a look at his dramatic and event filled personal journey but a peek out from the masks he wore to the times he lived through While his actions and experiences covered a considerable swath there is always throughout his moving tale a connection to family to his mother father brother various step parents his extended family and closest friends The power of these connections caused him considerable difficulty but also made it possible for him to weather some major life storms The odds are you will be moved by Jollett’s celebration of real human bonding cringe at some of the challenges he had to endure mumble an “oh no” or worse as you see the missteps along his path cheer for the triumphs when they come and luxuriate in the beauty of his writing Whatever else you may get from the book it is clear that Mikel Jollett is unmasked as an outstanding writer Hollywood Park is a sure winner of a read Bet on it One sentence in The Scarlet Letter stood out to me as I read on the edge of my bed I marked the page “No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true” It made me think of the Secret Place the place I hide with Robert Smith I know this face I’ve learned not to tell anyone at school about Synanon or Dad in prison orMom in the bed staring up at the ceiling It’s a mask this face you create for others one you hide behind as you laugh at jokes you don’t understand and skip uncomfortable details entire years of your life as if they simply didn’t happen Jollett l with dad Jimmy and brother Tony image from Publishers WeeklyReview posted – May 15 2020Publication date – May 5 2020I received an ARE of this book from Celadon in return for an honest review But do they really know who they gave this book to? I could be anyone pretending to be anyoneThanks to MC tooIn the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25% from 20000 to 15000 characters In order to accommodate the text beyond that I have moved it to the comments section directly below

  3. Julie Julie says:

    Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett is a 2020 Celadon Books publication An unconventional journey fraught with adversity but ultimately an inspirational memoirTo be honest I went into this memoir blind I think I added it mainly due to the mention of a cult a topic I am often drawn to However before starting the book I Googled Jollett and listened to his music wondering why I had not stumbled across him earlier But despite my unfamiliarity with the author I found myself pulled into his original approach in which he uses the voice of his childhoodmaking it seem as though we are living these experiences right along with him It is instantaneously obvious that Mikel’s upbringing is irregular to say the least Although I have heard of many cults I was not familiar with Synanon the cult Jollett lived in until the age of five when his mother finally escaped Again I did a little Googling and learned that the cult was supposed to be a drug rehabilitation center but had turned violent While it is a relief to know the family made it out of that situation Mikel’s childhood is far from stable Addiction narcissism and a lack of traditional parenting forces Mikel to become wizened beyond his years This is a powerful compelling memoir Jollet’s extraordinary writing techniue gives one a poignant look at addiction and the emotional drain that reigns on all of those involved His words are tender and merciful his memories affecting and his courage inspiring Despite the painful scars Mikel’s hard work and personal growth have broken chains providing him with the strength and insight to become a productive and successful adult Overall a compelling memoir I am so glad I took a chance on

  4. Barbara Barbara says:

    Author Mikel JollettMikel Jollett frontman for the indie rock band Airborne Toxic Event had a tumultuous childhood Airborne Toxic EventMikel Jollett performingJollett's parents were members of Synanon a California cult that began as a drug rehab organization Synanon was founded in 1958 and aspired to be a place where people lived all together being honest and free and not taking drugs SynanonSynanon started as a rehab facility for drug addictsSynanon's mission was to change the world for the better but it soon devolved into a dangerous violent cult that separated families By the time Mikel was born in 1974 six month old babies were taken from their parents and put in an orphanage like 'school' where they were raised by strangers and rarely or in some cases never saw their parents In Synanon children were separated from their parents Mikel recalls We had Demonstrators who were like teachers and classes and songs and I was lucky because I had a Bonnie She would hug me every day and call me Suuuuuun and ask me what I want for a snack Mikel also had friends Cassidy Guy Dmitri and Noah Mikel even got to see his parents on rare occasions and happily remembers his dad Jim Jollett riding up on a motorcycle and playing with him at the beachMikel with his father JimMikel's older brother Tony was especially isolated at Synanon Mikel writes Tony used to sit alone at the edge of the playground all day He didn't trust the adults and he didn't play with other kids that much Maybe it's because someone did bad things to himThe kids would get hit really hard or locked in a closet and there was no mom or dad to tell because they lived somewhere else and you couldn't even remember their facesWhen Mikel was five and Tony was seven their mother Gerry staged a nighttime rescue and fled from the cult a risky move that could result in beatings and even murder The Jolletts managed to escape however and Mikel and Tony finally got to meet their maternal Grandma and Grandpa in San Jose as well as aunts uncles and cousins an extended 'family' that bewildered Mikel who couldn't imagine having relativesMikel and Tony's father Jim left Synanon as well but moved in with another woman Mikel with his father JimMikel and Tony with their father JimMikel's mom was angry and hurt by her husband's desertion and longed for 'a man to take care of her' Thus when the family moved to Berkeley a former cult member named Phil joined them Phil was almost a father figure to the boys until two Synanon thugs caught up with him Mikel who saw what happened remembers The men have something like masks the color of skin that push their noses flat against their faces Even in the masks you can tell they both have shaved heads which means they're from Synanon The goons beat Phil to a pulp with skinny black clubs then asked a group of gawking children Do any of you know where Tony and Mikel are? Luckily the kids didn't answer and the Jollett family fled to Salem Oregon where Mikel's mom thought they'd be safeWhen Synanon became a cult members had to shave their headsLife in Oregon was hard Gerry got involved with one man after another all of them addicts of some kind Thus though the boyfriends might be kind and even avuncular to Tony and Mikel they inevitably took off or died after a while The family was also desperately poor Mom worked as a counselor for ex convict drug addicts but money was scarce and the Jolletts wore thrift store clothes and raised rabbits for food For a long time the family ate rabbits most nights Mikel notes Mom makes baked rabbit and lemon rabbit She makes stir fry rabbit with peppers and onions and 'rabbit surprise' which is leftover baked rabbit that has been cut up and put into a casserole dish Mikel relates an amusing but stomach churning story about Mom serving the same increasingly gluey rabbit stew four days in a rowuntil it was a grayish brown mass in the center of the pot 😝Baked rabbitRabbit stewBesides being deprived of material things Mikel and Tony got no emotional support from their mother who suffered from depression and other psychological maladies Gerry even seemed to inhabit an alternate reality When Mikel told his mother I'm scared of the Synanon men Mom she would say No you're not You're happy because you're with your mother now When Mikel told his mother he was having nightmares about Phil's pummeling she'd insist You're fine You weren't even there Then Gerry would lament This has been really hard on me Mom's denial of Mikel's feelings and constant deflection to HER feelings wasn't a one off but went on for years Mikel's concerns were dismissed and he was expected to take care of his mother When Mom was sad or crying Mikel would lean against her and say It's okay Mom One day at a time and other phrases he picked up from AA and Alanon The Jolletts attended numerous 12 step meetings and AA family campouts because 'addiction is a family problem' The Jolletts attended many AA meetingsTony who was lonely and damaged than Mikel had an even harder time than his brother Tony was constantly angry compulsively acted out and bullied Mikel relentlessly Eventually Tony and then Mikel moved to Los Angeles to live with their father who was by then cohabiting with Bonnie Mikel's affectionate caretaker from Synanon The boys would return to Oregon during summer breaks and Mikel's visits with Mom were always difficult for him Gerry would continuously lament her situation and make Mikel feel guilty for 'deserting his mother' Even though Dad was a former drug addict a onetime criminal and an ex convict he and Bonnie were the saviors that gave the boys a stable loving home In addition Bonnie's extended Jewish family treated the boys like beloved mishpucha Nevertheless as pre teens and teens Tony and Mikel constantly snuck out drank partied used drugs and got into trouble Both boys also had problems sustaining relationships with girls because of their abandonment issues from childhoodDespite misbehaving and skiving off school Mikel was a gifted student who ran track finished high school and eventually graduated from Stanford University Mikel had been obsessed with music since he was a youth and took it up professionally as an adult writing articles about concerts interviewing rock stars and finally becoming a singersongwriter with his own band Everything Mikel did was made difficult by the emotional and psychological damage he'd experienced as a child Mikel exhaustively maybe a bit too exhaustively documents his constant disorientation; the ongoing difficulties with his mother; and the PTSD like symptoms he experienced for decadesMikel discusses many things about himself and his life including his round Dutch cheeks and large childhood overbite; his Dad teaching him to beat up a school bully; his Dad taking him to Hollywood Park to bet on the horse races; Tony's Goth phase and drug addiction; the illnesses and deaths of various family members; and much He also recalls happy times with friends and the wonderful relatives that supported him unconditionally Mikel's brother Tony JollettMikel with his father and brotherIn the end Mikel reuired extensive therapy to become a whole healthy person and it's gratifying to see that with great effort a seriously damaged child can become a successful adult The book tackles serious subjects but does contain some humor For instance Mom talked so much about Thatasshole Reagan that Mikel was shocked to learn the presidential candidate's real name was Ronald 😊Ronald Reagan aka Thatasshole ReaganAnd Grandma Juliette Bonnie's mom didn't care if Mikel heard dirty jokes He recalls If someone says Mom where is the fuckin' ice? I've been looking all over for it she puts her hands over my ears and says Don't you ever say the word 'ice' in front of my grandson This is a well written poignant memoir that's ultimately optimistic about healing redemption and love Highly recommendedThank you to Celadon Books and Mikel Jollett for a copy of the book and the View Master with pictures You can follow my reviews at

  5. Katie B Katie B says:

    This was a well written memoir and once again proves my point you don't necessarily have to be familiar with the person ahead of time in order to appreciate their story Mikel spent the first few years of his life in the Church of Synanon which was a cult Thankfully he and his family escaped but obviously the experience is something that stays with you and the long term effects is just one of the subjects Mikel explores in his memoir The main reason I chose to read this one is because I have this odd fascination with cults I'm always curious about the reasons why people end up in a cult what the heck goes on while they are in a cult as well how they manage to leave The Church of Synannon in which Mikel's family were members mandated children at 6 months old be separated from their parents and raised in the cult's School So Mikel and his older brother didn't even have much interaction with their parents until after they left the cult And while leaving the cult was the right thing to do it didn't mean that Mikel's life was smooth sailing afterwards He was five years old when his mother took him and his brother and escaped so the book focuses mostly on the aftermath of leaving a cult although he does share his memories of his time being raised in what was essentially an orphanage type environmentI think Mikel Jollett is a talented writer and I loved how he told his story Rather than talk about his childhood from only an adult perspective he relates his experiences of the cult and growing up after escaping in of a kid's narration style If you have read the fictional book Room it's something similar to that method of storytelling Mikel even as a child is pretty insightful and wise beyond his years Given this is a memoir about his life eventually Mikel's perspective goes from young boy to teen and then adulthood And it truly felt like I was reading the words and thoughts of a child and then teen and then an adult It might sound like a simple thing to do but I don't think most writers could have pulled it off so flawlessly There were two things that really stood out for me in this memoir I thought the topic of addiction was handled in a way in which you could really understand the devastating effects it has not just on the person who is addicted but also on loved ones And without going into too much detail Mikel's mother was someone I found fascinating to read about and I appreciate how the dymanics between mother and son was explored in the book Definitely check this one out especially if you enjoy memoirsThank you to Celadon Books for sending me an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review

  6. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Terrific engaging intimateAudiobook Memoirread by the author Meet Mikel JollettHe’s a pretty likable guy with a story to share He intimately shares his traumatic childhoodI felt like I was eavesdropping on Mikel’s personal private mutterings during some of the most wretched years of his life He doesn’t shy away from sharing about the overpowering mentally ill adults who raised him in the cult environment without his own parentsthat he eventually escaped A grim memoir that is sometimes sidesplittinghilarious filled with nostalgia tidbits french fries and orange crush soda anyone?Mostly it’s heartbreaking but hopefula childhood filled withdespair and love abandonment and love poverty and loveabuse and loveemptiness and loveconfusion and lovebrutality and loveaddiction and loveeducation and lovefood and lovesibling and family complexitiescompassion and loveredemption and love truthful real raw wacky crazy troubling storiesa true story that’s sad with a happy ending Mikel Jollett is the frontman of the indie band Airborne Toxic Event He graduated from Stanford University with honors

  7. Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader says:

    One of my favorite ways to “consume” a memoir is through an audiobook narrated by the author and that was the case with Hollywood Park Also something I want to mention is there is music included at transitions and Mikel Jollett is a musician so this was another addition that added to the character of this bookMikel and his brother were born into a famous cult where they were separated from their parents at only six months of age One day Mikel’s mother picks them up and they leave the cult but the mark of that experience shaped Mikel’s life afterwards even into adulthoodI found the memoir to be thoughtful and well written There was this feeling as I read and listened that I was growing up with Mikel because as he grew up so did his way of expressing his experiences if that makes sense The tone of the story matched the age in which he was living at the time Overall Mikel’s story is an honest raw authentic journey from poverty and addiction to hope healing and successI received a gifted copy All opinions are my own Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog wwwjennifertarheelreadercom and instagram wwwinstagramcomtarheelreader

  8. Debbie Debbie says:

    48 rounded up nearly pogo stick materialOh the languageI’m a sucker for a good memoir but at the same time I’m picky Your life better be fascinating or I’ll leave you where I found you alone in my pile of inanimate books If you come alive I’ll dance with you Well this one roped me in and swung me around BUT I forgot to say—if your life isn’t completely captivating his life is medium captivating for the love of god be a wordsmith woo me with your proseAnd man did I get wooed This guy can write He writes from his heart so I was instantly pulled in I really got a sense of him—his problems with attachment his feelings of shame the abuse he endured his loneliness He doesn’t just show us his heart he shows us his head He’s constantly analyzing himself—which in memoirs always runs the risk of sounding clinical or academic or self indulgent Not to worry Jollet just sounds smart and his language is poetic and powerfulJollet spent the first five years in a cult one of the most famous and dangerous ones in the country All the kids lived together and rarely got visits from their parents It was like an orphanage The book opens just as his mom escapes with him It’s cool the way the memoir begins because Jollet often uses a 5 year old’s language and perspective One of my only gripes is that I was expecting to hear about the cult Couldn’t happen though since he left at age 5 and his memories of the cult are scarce The book blurb writers knew that the tease of a cult would draw readers in as it did me I felt tricked but I uickIy forgave the trick since Jollett so powerfully zapped me He spent his life going back and forth between his ex con ex druggie dad in California whom he loved and his passive aggressive abusive mother in Oregon Everyone poor His mom had some boyfriends and husbands which of course affected Mikel’s life And there’s a brother Mikel had girlfriends but his relationships fizzled out; he was constantly trying to figure out how it kept happeningI was rooting for Mikel the whole way; he’s so damn likeable It was exciting to see that despite his childhood and despite his poverty he ended up at Stanford Besides being a writer he’s also a musician It’s always heart warming to see a guy succeed when the odds are against him But I think it’s his drive to learn about himself that steals the show He doesn’t just report he analyzes He eventually got himself to a therapist; I loved that he grew so much because of what he learned from therapy In a way the story reminded me of Educated though I’d say his life wasn’t as horrible as that of the writer of that bookBesides being a little bummed that the book didn’t have much about a kid’s life in a cult I had two minor complaints The details of his life as a budding musician bored me; and there was a short bit about AA and its tenets including a few uses of the God word Minor nits thoughI did a lot of highlighting Here are a few uotes that I liked the first being my favorite “It seemed like writers have the most important job in the world to make books to create a connection a kind of telepathy between two minds in which one can inhabit the other”“There seems to be no good answers I can either do something that makes me uncomfortable or feel guilty about refusing it”“I feel like a blank space covered in skin”“Children experience loneliness like shame”“Something about it made sense part revival part confessional part circus—that’s rock and roll”Ultimately this is a story of love and hope all told by a brilliant writer The book was raw but at the same time polished; it read like a really good novel I just reread some of my highlights and now I sit in a happy stupor wanting I would read another book by this guy in a heartbeat Hope he writes short stories or a novel I’ll be the first in lineHighly recommended

  9. Brandice Brandice says:

    I’m the first to admit I can be critical of memoirs understanding they are often deeply personal That said I really enjoyed reading Mikel Jollett’s Hollywood Park detailing his childhood which first began in a cult and then beyond moving back and forth between Oregon living with his mother and California living with his dad There was a lot going on including addiction issues and substantial emotional abuse I had a difficult time feeling any sympathy toward his mother as she was delusional freuently pinning blame and guilt on her two sons Mikel and his brother Tony for all things that went wrong in her life She made many uestionable choices often letting her desire for a nuclear family override making responsible parenting decisions I was pleased to see when she was finally called out on her behavior though sorry to see it took so longIt wasn’t an easy road but I enjoyed seeing the progression of Mikel’s relationship with Tony and with his dad Mikel and Tony’s relationship became stronger as they grew older recognizing all they had been through and were subjected to in their childhood Hollywood Park became a special place for Mikel and his dad and it was nice to read about their bonding that took place there Mikel experienced conflicting feelings as he grew older — Wondering if he was a fraud and could actually rise above the status of his family’s seeming destiny prison or addiction and if he really belonged anywhere else He was accepted to Stanford and graduated with honors Following college he held a few respectable jobs but wasn’t satisfied He became involved in music journalism and eventually formed the band The Airborne Toxic Event I wasn’t familiar with the band prior to reading this story though they have toured the nation and have played at Coachella It took a long time for Mikel to understand and accept that his life wasn’t conventional to make peace with this and still find the joy he deserved I can see some similarities to The Glass Castle yet found his story uniue and compelling in its own right Hollywood Park is a well written worthwhile read about overcoming adversity and finding love and happiness

  10. Norma Norma says:

    Candid revealing and remarkable HOLLYWOOD PARK is a fascinating raw interesting engaging heartfelt and well written memoir that has us following Mikel Jollett through his childhood where he was raised in a commune which turned into the cult Synanon in the 1970’s to present day Now the thing is I rarely ever read memoirs but there was something about this one that totally intrigued me and caught my eye The title grabbed my attention as well as “notorious cult” from the synopsis My eyes and ears definitely perk up when I read or see the word cult because I kind of have this odd fascination with them His childhood was filled with poverty addiction emotional abuse neglect and delinuency Reading his story definitely wasn’t easy for me but Mikel Jollett is very talented and tells his story extremely well and with kindness I loved how he was able to fully immerse us in his childhood by his voice alone and then take us through the years to adulthood We learned how he matured transformed his life and how he dealt with what was given to him at such a young ageI cannot leave this review without mentioning Mikel Jollett’s loving father He was definitely one of the highlights for me and his support and love for his sons totally shined through The audiobook is appealingly and engagingly performed by the author Mikel JollettI honestly didn’t know anything about Mikel Jollet prior to reading this one and it totally worked for me I appreciated listening to and reading his story I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy Memoirs that take you on an emotionally powerful hopeful and insightful journey or if you have a fascination for cultsExpected Publication Date May 26 2020Thank you so much to Mimi from Goodreads for sending me an advanced copy of this book I would also like to thank Librofm Celadon Books and Mikel Jollett for the ALC

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