Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster – Review

Featured image for GUTS by Kristen Johnston

Kristen Johnston is evil, and so are her Guts.

I first saw the book in Indigo. Or Chapters. Well, whichever bookstore it is where I used to go for Starbucks every day (I have since broken that little habit and only go two or three times a week now… anyway…).

I walk quickly through the books to the escalator, and take the stairway (escalator) to heaven. But then one day, she caught my eye. Well, the book cover caught my eye. It said GUTS which first I thought was a zombie book (and in a way, I was right).

And then I saw Kristen French… Stewart… Johnston… a chick with big lips smoking a cigarette.


audio book cover for GUTS by Kristen Johnston
audio book cover for GUTS by Kristen Johnston


And every day I walked past her book it called out to me, tempting me on my way to coffee heaven. So really, she’s like the devil what with all that temptation.

I bought the audio book because she reads it. And sometimes I’m too lazy to actually hold a book up and turn pages. But I really bought it because I love storytelling. And, wow, does she have a story to tell.

Now, I don’t know Kristen Johnson… Johnstone… Johnston from a hole in the ground. I think I’ve seen 2 episodes of 3rd Rock (which apparently is not the same as 30 Rock, but it sure makes me wonder why all these rocks are being numbered…)

So, I don’t know Kristen, I’m not one for stories on boozy actresses or redemption or tell-alls (okay, truth be told, this is a tell-a-little-because-she-can’t-remember-it-all). But within the first couple of minutes, I was totally hooked.

I’m a pill popping lush. Your mind it totally blown, isn’t it? After all, an actress addicted to booze and pills is pretty much unheard of. And, an actress addicted to booze and pills who then writes a book about it, is even rarer… It was a dark day indeed when I was forced to admit that I am about as special as a manila envelope.

Bwahahaha, oops, I mean, how sad. Nope, I really mean bwahahahahaha. She made me laugh, even out loud on the subway and that’s okay, because it scared people away and I got a seat.

Kristen reminisces about her youth, her miserable high school years, her brother, her father, her mother (whose pain killers she stole to feed just one of her addictions) and her dog (whose pain killers she also stole – although she was thankful they were not beef flavored). She finds success in television, and cannot handle celebrity. The downward spiral that began in childhood gets ever faster, the TV show ends, and the addictions continue.

Surprisingly, as you might have guessed from the quote above, Kristen doesn’t much care for celebrity, or celebrities. In her day, all she cared about were the drugs and booze. When her gastric ulcer finally burst – she advises she was in the middle of peeing when her guts exploded – all the celebrity disappeared as she collapsed face first onto the tile floor. How bad was it? Her British surgeon told her,

Frankly, We’re all a bit transfixed by your case…You see, not one of us had ever come across anything as shocking as the condition your intestines were in, at least in someone alive. Truly, it was as if a bomb had gone off.

And thus begins her very slow recovery, redemption and rebirth.

So it doesn’t matter if you don’t know Kristen Alley… Dior… Johnston, and it doesn’t matter if this isn’t your kind of book. Ms. Johnston is a gifted little devil and she makes you like it anyway.

For the three most important people in your life, buy them your three favorite books. This is definitely one of the books.

The day Kristen Johnston adopted Pinky from the ASPCA
The day Kristen Johnston adopted Pinky from the ASPCA

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