A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER by Victor Rivas Rivers


A Memoir
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Young man survives violent childhood to play big-time college football, perform in some forgettable films, party with Melanie Griffith, and travel the country speaking on behalf of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

In a random, roving, forgettable, and largely regrettable text, Rivers seems unsure about what sort of book he’s writing. Is it a memoir of child abuse? A play-by-play account of his high-school and college football games? A wistful story about how he almost made it in pro football and Hollywood? A handbook of ways to describe attractive women (the only type he ever seems to notice)? A catalogue of clichés? His memoir is all of these and more. The author’s brutal father appears to have been an artist of abuse, punching his children regularly for minor infractions of his draconian household code and kicking his pregnant wife in the stomach. Dad tied young Victor to a kitchen chair and hit his hands with a meat tenderizer, burned his stomach with a red-hot knife blade (this after two days of beatings), tied him up again and whipped him with a dog chain. Baseball, football, and hot women eventually saved Rivers from a life of depravity and despair. One charming two-page anecdote reveals how he once emptied a room of film-watching Miami Dolphins with a really raunchy fart; he claims his fellow linemen were proud of his accomplishment. (These were, of course, the offensive linemen.) Naturally, he learns other important Life Lessons from football, a game whose drama Rivers compares to that of Shakespeare’s. The author repeatedly praises his own looks, sense of humor, and terpsichorean grace. He marvels at his luck when he finds himself at a Hollywood soiree standing in the kitchen with Melanie Griffith, Madonna, Cher, and Demi Moore—it’s a wonderful life! Eventually, he finds True Love, has a son, and gets a significant gig going around telling his sensational stories.

Serious subject; vain, vacuous treatment. (16 pp. b&w photos, mercifully not seen)

Pub Date: April 26th, 2005
ISBN: 0-7434-8788-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2005


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