Review of “Here Comes Trouble” by Michael Moore

Note: This review is by my husband Jim.

I never would have chosen to read this book had it not been selected by one of the book clubs to which I belong. Nevertheless, I am quite happy to have read it. Subtitled “Stories from My Life,” all of its chapters (except the first one) relate to events that took place before Moore’s movie, “Roger and Me,” was released and Moore, now an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, author, and well-known contrarian, became famous.

Moore begins with his birth and babyhood in 1954, and it didn’t take long before he embarked on his career of protesting, muckraking, and agitating. He even complains about his newborn years in retrospect, expressing outrage that doctors encouraged women to feed babies (including him) “Carnation Sugared Milk-Like Fatty Liquid Yum-Yum Substance” rather than breast milk.

At age 14, he got kicked out of St. Paul’s Seminary in Saginaw for asking too many questions. [He must have been very bad, indeed. My classmates at Notre Dame High School in Niles, Illinois still remember me as the boy who drove the priests crazy with my “challenges,” but they never went so far as to kick me out!]

Moore then went to the local high school and got elected to conservative local school board, becoming the youngest elected official in the United States. He also founded a newspaper in high school and started an abortion hot line and crisis center. But he couldn’t get a date.

Moore is portly, sloppy, and generally not considered attractive physically, and so he was shy and generally unsuccessful with girls in high school and college. His description of the terrors of asking an attractive girl for a date is very entertaining.

Despite growing up in a conservative Catholic environment, Moore seems never to have had a Republican-leaning thought in his life. He has always sympathized with the oppressed and downtrodden, which makes for heartfelt descriptions of the treatment of blacks in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As one would expect, he vigorously opposed American involvement in Vietnam. Nevertheless, his description of Richard Nixon, who was disgraced by the Watergate scandal and so derided that he could scarcely travel outside the White House, is poignant and almost sympathetic.

Moore’s outstanding characteristic is his chutzpah. When Ronald Reagan placed a wreath on the graves of some of Hitler’s S.S. troops, Moore and a Jewish friend snuck through tight security to unveil a sign saying, “They killed my family.” His lack of fear of disapproval also enabled him to film a group of neo-Nazis and to confront the President of General Motors (Roger Smith) and the president of the National Rifle Association (Charlton Heston).

Evaluation: Even while not agreeing with Moore on all issues, I found this book to be – like his movies, consistently entertaining and often downright funny.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2011

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14 Responses to Review of “Here Comes Trouble” by Michael Moore

  1. I’ve always wondered what kind of a childhood he had. I’m having weird visions right now because as you describe Moore, he sounds just like my son. I worry about this kid’s ability to argue, and his constant sense of outrage at injustices and fairness. I sure hope he can translate that into something that pays his bills. So good for Moore! My husband and I think he is a bit of a blowhard and someone who craves attention, but he is entertaining to watch.

  2. zibilee says:

    I also think he is a weird fellow, and loves outrage for its own sake, but this book does sound like it would be entertaining for a lot of reasons. I had never thought of what his childhood must have been like, but think that he probably drove his mother crazy with all the ire and complaints! This was a really interesting review, and though I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up on my own, now I want to look for it. It sounds really entertaining, and aslo, possibly poignant at times. Great review today, Jim!

  3. Meg says:

    How interesting! Michael Moore is certainly an individual. Regardless of how I feel about his political leanings (and I don’t know enough about him to form a true opinion), I definitely admire his fearlessness. Sounds like an interesting behind-the-scenes look at his life, and one I would probably enjoy; I’m getting more and more into memoirs these days.

  4. I don’t think I would have picked this one up on my own either! We had a few people in my high school that were always arguing about something and questioning everything. It wasn’t a religious school though, so all they did was annoy people. The most surprising thing to me in this review was the bit about Reagan putting a wreath on SS soldiers graves. I wonder at the political reasoning behind why Reagan did that.

  5. Moore is one of those people who a waver in my opinion. But I never find him uninteresting and something tells me he was a pistol (read pain in the ***) Thanks Jim, I think I’ll add this to my list.

  6. BermudaOnion says:

    I have a feeling I’d enjoy this one too. The man may be controversial but that just makes him all the more interesting.

  7. bookingmama says:

    I’m sure there were many funny parts. He’s a piece of work!

  8. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    He does nothing for me. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. This sounds like an interesting read. Chutzpah indeed! I think I’ll add this to the to-read stack – great review.

  10. Since I most likely agree with Michael about not one issue, I think I will skip this one.

  11. I probably wouldn’t have picked this one either, but I can see how this book was entertaining. I like Moore’s character just by reading your review. I can see why he went on to be successful in life.

  12. Jenners says:

    Hmmm….not sure about this. I do “enjoy” his movies but I’m not sure I want to commit to reading about his life.

  13. stacybuckeye says:

    Hmm. I applaud his passion for his ideals and his ability to make movies that spotlight important issues. I respect that. But I have zero desire to read about his childhood. Thanks for reading is for me, Jim 🙂

  14. Rita K says:

    Jim,
    Saw him when I went to NY with your spouse and have a signed copy of the book cover – the book wasn’t ready yet. My spouse took me to see “Roger and Me” when it came out. I did not want to go, but enjoyed the movie in a kind of voyeuristic way, but have always cringed watching him. I don’t disagree with many of his positions, but find that he goes a bit far. As my spouse likes his movies, I have seen many of them. I may have to read this -it may help explain Moore to me.

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