Mike Tyson‘s life story is the gift that keeps giving.
And giving. And giving.
At one time he was the baddest man on the planet, a heavyweight champion who terrorized anyone who got in his way, inside the ring or out. More recently he’s unburdened himself as perhaps the most tortured soul on earth, with a one-man show on Broadway that Spike Lee has turned into an HBO special airing Nov. 16.
It turns out that Tyson didn’t tell us everything. Not to worry, because he’s taken care of that in a hefty autobiography that might be the most soul baring book of its genre ever written.
The title is “Undisputed Truth,” and the truth is that Mike Tyson is one messed up dude. He’s desperate to put his demons to rest, but the book needed an extra epilogue written just before printing to talk about him falling off the sobriety wagon once again.
And though things might be better these days in Tyson’s world, he constantly warns that he’s not far from slipping off the edge, or slipping back into a strip club to party with drugs and women.
“Sometimes I just fantasize about blowing somebody’s brains out so I can go to prison for the rest of my life,” he writes. “Working on this book makes me think that my whole life has been a joke.”
If so, Tyson has yet to figure out the punch line. Though he has reinvented himself in recent years as a family man and vegan with enough comedic chops to act in movies, he says he lives daily with the dark past of a junkie who loved to snort cocaine and drink and was constantly preoccupied with finding women to bed.
The sex is detailed in almost clinical terms, and the many women in Tyson’s life flow in and out of the pages like they did in his life. One big exception is Desiree Washington, the beauty pageant contestant who Tyson was convicted of raping in Indianapolis — a charge he heatedly denies — and spent three years in prison.
“How do you rape someone when they come to your hotel room at two in the morning?” he asks.
Even in prison he got his fill, he says, first with visitors and then with a prison drug counselor who suddenly became available after Tyson had $10,000 sent to her home to fix her roof.
“I was having so much sex that I was too tired to even to go the gym and work out,” Tyson wrote. “I’d just stay in my cell all day.”
The book is in Tyson’s voice but written by Larry Sloman offers a fascinating look into a life that up until now had already been well chronicled. It’s raw, and so profane that Tyson needs to explain some of the terms he uses for women and blacks in a separate chapter at the end.
But it is also quite funny in parts, like the time Tyson forgot about a suitcase that contained $1 million in cash, only to have one of his gofers find it a week later.
“I had had a rough night in the city and had forgotten where I left it,” Tyson said.
Or when Monica Turner finally tired of his ways and filed for divorce.
“I guess she had had enough of my fooling around because I sure did a lot of it,” Tyson said. “Calling to tell her I had AIDS probably didn’t help either.”