Celeb memoirs of drug addiction and rehab clog up bookshelves. It’s become somewhat of a cliché when a celebrity shares her struggles with substance abuse, especially to pump up her career. Kristen Johnston, the Emmy-winning actress from the NBC show 3rd Rock From the Sun, has recently put out her book Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster. The book is a harrowing, candid tome about Johnston’s spiral into drug addiction, which affects her career, health and finances. She pulls through successfully, which makes the tales of ill health, depression and despondency easier to read. It also helps that Johnston is a talented and witty writer.
Guts is an interesting book in that deals primarily with Johnston’s various struggles and obstacles: namely her sometimes-crippling lack of self-esteem as well as the drug addiction that would land her in a London hospital during a sting on the London stage. Even though her time with 3rd Rock pretty much defines her celebrity, Johnston spends little time going over that time in her life, except when in reference to how it relates to her drug addiction or self-esteem issues. Otherwise, there’s little about her costars like John Lithgow or Jane Curtin; in fact there’s little in terms of celeb kiss-and-tell, which may disappoint a few.
Johnston’s voice is clear and distinct. She’s frank and unsparing in her approach to describing just how low she fell. Her big-heartedness also comes across (I dare you to read her tribute to the late Natasha Richardson and not tearing up). As a comedienne, Johnston employs her towering height as well as her beauty: because she was plagued with years of self-doubt, she could not process being cast as a sex icon, as she was during 3rd Rock. It’s this kind of candid writing that sets Guts ahead of other celebrity tell-alls.
Click here to buy Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kristen Johnston on amazon.com.