As you might have noticed from my weekly posting about baseball best-sellers, I’m not overly happy that Lenny Dykstra’s new memoir, House of Nails, is doing well. It came in at No. 11 on the most recent New York Times best-seller list for non-fiction.
This isn’t a case of schadenfreude. It’s that people are more interested in dirt from someone who many wouldn’t even consider a celebrity than more important issues from writers who toil so hard for such little return. As Richard Sandomir, the Times‘ sports media columnist observes in his recent review, several interviewers — mostly, it seems, of the low-brow sports-talk radio shows, dote on Dykstra as if he was some sort of hero, kissing his butt with bro-praise, ignoring the terrible things he claims to have done to get ahead, including hiring private detectives to get dirt on umpires as possible blackmail material.
This is what holds our interest at a time when citizens and polic offers are being killed with sad regularity and the November elections portend such dire results?
In Sandomir’s considered opinion, House of Nails
… is not an eloquent autobiography, like Andre Agassi’s Open, and is more in keeping with the spirit of Jose Canseco’s Juiced. It is not explosive, unless his accusation that the former Mets manager Davey Johnson drank a lot is big news. It is rather a narcissist’s delight, so relentlessly focused on Dykstra’s ego and antics that you need to rest occasionally from the Lenniness of it all.
At least Canesco’s book served a purpose in bringing to light the reach of PED, even though many in the baseball hierarchy sought to turn a blind eye to the situation. What life lesson is Dykstra offering?
Add to that his firing of veteran author Peter Golenbock as his co-writer because, as Sandomir writes, “Dykstra said he had needed to take control of the book to preserve his singular voice, which is notably profane and blustery and as obsessed with sex as a pubescent boy.”
(I’ve also lost some respect for Stephen King, whose blurb is featured on the cover. Unless it’s one of those situations where the publisher cobbled together words that King included in his assessment, although not necessarily in the order in which it appears.)
I often link the books in these entries to the Amazon page, hoping to earn a few coins if some of you readers decided to order the various merchandise. Not this time.