Ghetto Klown is a curious book. In fact, in many ways it isn’t a book at all. Think of it more as a graphic novel where the content is the script from a one-man show. Throw in some showbiz anecdotes, a fair bit of personal angst and bring together with a huge amount of comedy and you’ll have something akin to Ghetto Klown. And even that doesn’t quite cover it.
For many people, John Leguizamo will always be a supporting actor from films they like, and someone who they will always recognise but may sometimes struggle to remember his name. He has appeared in over 100 films, from Carlitto’s Way and Romeo + Juliet to Ice Age and Chef, but it is on the stage where he truly belongs. Ghetto Klown is the graphic novelisation of his highly regarded show, and is at times a blunt and unforgiving appraisal of his own life and that of his family and friends. Autobiographical to a fault, but with much of the day-to-day mundanity removed, this is a witty, engaging and cringe-inducing account delivered without a hint of irony and no discernible filter. This inherent self-awareness is what makes this the entertaining read that it is, and makes it a book you will come back to time and again.
Written like a hip hop journal from the dark streets of Hollywood, Leguizamo reveals himself to be a character far more interesting than any he has portrayed on screen. Unflinchingly honest, Ghetto Klown is fascinating and funny in equal parts, and Leguizamo is an entertaining author. Whether you consider it to be a coffee table book or a graphic autobiography, it is a fantastic read and one to buy for yourself or give to a friend; then borrow.
GHETTO KLOWN / AUTHOR: JOHN LEGUIZAMO / ARTIST: CHRISTA CASSANO, SHAMUS BEYALE / PUBLISHER: HARRY N. ADAMS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW