The title to this book misled me a bit. It sounds like a self-help/relationships/gender studies book, but Manhood is about ninety-five percent Terry Crews memoir, and only about five percent advice about being a good guy. This frustrated me a bit; it felt like a little bit of a bait and switch from the publisher or Crews. Celebrity autobiographies seem more prevalent than I can remember, and they vary widely in quality and readability. While this one was not what I expected, it ultimately did not disappoint. In fact, it impressed.
Crews’ telling of his life story is open and authentic. Crews is willing to share his own shortcomings. For much of the book, he does not come off as a great example of manhood, or someone from whom many readers would want to take advice. As Crews himself readily admits, for most of his life he was egotistical, entitled, and just plain mean. Some of the book was difficult to read, as it just sounded like a jerk being a jerk to his family. It is uncomfortable. Some of it is heartbreaking. Crews was the product of an abusive home, and the literal circle of violence was very real in his life. Some central characters sit on a bathroom floor during the holidays, weeping together over the beatings that had been given and taken. Crews also spends a lot of time discussing his history as a perpetual pleaser, perfectionist, and pornography addict.
Because he openly shares his faults, his praise of others is believable. The hero of the book is definitely his wife, Rebecca. They met and were married in their early twenties and have been together ever since. It is obvious that Crews is in awe of her as a spouse, mother, artist, and friend. The author is a big advocate of his wife, his high school football coach, and anyone else who takes time to speak positive truths into young people’s lives.
While the book doesn’t spend much time with explicit advice, Crews spends a few sentences at the end summing up what he believes the mission of a man is. I found his philosophy simple, profound, inspiring, and moving. I actually cried on the bus when I read it. If you are a Crews fan, check out the book. Don’t expect much in the way of Hollywood movie lot gossip, but do expect to get to know the man better.