The story of Bruiser Brody would always be a fascinating one, but it’s the format that makes this book a particular success.
It’s a blend of biography and autobiography, with chapters alternating between close friend Larry Matysik recalling Brody’s in-ring career and widow Barbara Goodish talking about his personal life. The approach works particularly well given the contrast between the crazed brawler and the intelligent family man.
The writers also make what turns out to be a smart decision in opening the book with Brody’s death before returning to a more chronologically conventional approach. It comes across as both a recognition of how unavoidably significant his death at the hands of a fellow wrestler was, and a way to avoid the book ending on a downbeat note.
In terms of pure facts such as dates and events, the book is hard to criticise as Matysik was a meticulous record keeper. He also encompasses a wide range of recollections from Brody’s peers rather than relying solely on personal memories.
One limitation is that the book somewhat downplays Brody’s stubbornness/self-preservation when it came to negotiating finishes, holding up promoters and even no-showing events. While the subject is addressed, there’s little exploration of the merits or otherwise of Brody’s behaviour and the way it fits into the bizarre and contradictory nature of professional wrestling as a business where both cooperation and selfishness can be keys to success.
Still, while it’s by no means a definitive and objective account of Brody’s career, this is worth a read for the personal insights on offer.