This week on NPR, Nicholas Cannariato reviewed Hollywood Park. Hollywood Park is the heartbreaking and redemptive memoir of the tumultuous life of Mikel Jollett, the 46-year old front man for the Indie band, Airborne Toxic Event. He was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults, and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse, shaping the person he became.
Hollywood Park is a story of fierce love and family loyalty told in a raw, poetic voice, signaling the emergence of a uniquely gifted writer. Jollett “succeeds most in compassionately depicting the suffering and struggle of others with addiction: those left to obscurity; those barely holding on.” He portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol.
In Cannariato’s powerful review, he writes, “Addiction is often a family affair. Sometimes those growing up in families with addiction overcome their circumstances and find a sustainable way to be a person in the world. Sometimes they don’t. Mikel Jollett did.”
Through it all, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician. Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak, it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.