Have A Nice Day by Mick Foley

September 25, 2019

Simply put, without this book, this blog — and many of the books reviewed in it — would not exist.

Originally planned as the first of three WWE autobiographies in a deal to cash in on the Attitude era boom, if Foley’s account is anything to go by this project transformed from its original vision. It was originally intended to be ghostwritten, with numerous facts about Foley’s life changed and a pretence that wrestling matches were legitimate contests.

Foley later recounted that he persuaded WWE management to let him write the book himself, rejecting a compromise offer of having Vince Russo work on the ghostwriting. And I’m being honest here, bro, that would have been a DISASTER of a book with NARRATIVE failings ahoy!!!

What we’re left with is a 500+ page epic that recounts Foley’s life up until his first WWF title win. Foley’s memory was clearly in great shape at this point as he recalls almost any significant match you can think of, and several less significant ones as well. Whether it’s tours of Nigeria, Hell in a Cell or dud explosives in the Tokyo Dome, it’s all here.

It’s filled with genuine humour and self-deprecation, and is written skilfully, in particular the set-ups for comedic punchlines. Criticisms of others in the business are kept to the point, without whininess. While there are valid criticisms of Foley’s later memoirs, it’s hard to see how anyone could be taken seriously in bringing up negatives about this original volume.

The book also left a legacy. Sales were in the hundreds of thousands, far in excess of expectations, and it was reportedly responsible for removing the prejudice in publisher eyes that there was no point making books about wrestling because its audience was barely literate. That almost certainly made the difference in many wrestling books getting published, for better or worse.

Have A Nice Day also established that even for official WWE releases, the idea of semi-fictionalised books that portrayed wrestling as a competitive sport simply weren’t going to cut it. It’s a fair bet that Foley’s original effort is why we can reasonably expect that any WWE autobigraphy will be at least as honest as its subject.

While there may arguably be better wrestling books or ones that deal with more historically important subjects, the quality of Have A Nice Day and the fact that it deals with a mainstream boom period wrestling star means that if you’re a fan of this blog and haven’t yet read the book, it would be my number one recommendation.

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One Comment

  • AW September 30, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    It truly is a great book, even if Foley can still rub me the wrong way from time to time. I will occasionally re-read it when I get into wrestling about every 8 months for about 2 months, then shift my attention to the three or four other things I’m interested in.
    I’ve traveled and lived all over the US, and there are spots that really re-open my memory banks Foley refers to: A Bonanza steakhouse, certain locations in PA & WV that I’m well acquainted with to name a few. I even saw a DeNucci trained troupe at the Armory in Cambridge, OH in November of ’88. They seemed to be affiliated with Memphis at the time, as one of the Moondogs was on the card and the AWA Southern Tag Team titles were on the line. I couldn’t tell you who else was on the card.
    Anyways, this is book was the pioneering effort for the modern-day wrestling book genre (Hooker should have been the first, but Lou’s early effort always seemed to be snake bit) and it’s not only the best of Foley’s works, it’s still in my top-5 wrestling books ever written.

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