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Book Review: Linda Hogan's "Wrestling The Hulk" is surprisingly ok

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Over the last few years, many ex-wives of famous pro wrestlers have tried to sell books to publishers, and most have been unsuccessful doing so. Only one has gotten a book out, and on a major publisher's imprint: Linda Hogan (actually Linda Bollea nee Claridge), the ex-wife of Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea. Between her husband's fame and having some fame of her own via the "Hogan Knows Best" reality show, it was obviously a much easier sale than the ex-wives of Bret Hart or The Ultimate Warrior. Linda's "Wrestling the Hulk: My Life Against the Ropes" came out was officially released Tuesday. I got a review copy last week and having gone in with pretty low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised that the book wasn't a disaster.

I'm not saying it's great or even good, but I expected a disaster.  On "Hogan Knows Best," a tightly formatted and clearly staged reality show, her real personality would sometimes shine through and she had some infamous meltdowns, most notably when neighbors complained about the number of animals on her family's property.  Since she has come off as nutty and the book exists solely to chronicle a marriage that ended in a bitter divorce, I went in expecting the worst.

The opening 30 pages or so cover her pre-Hulk Hogan life and it feels like a bit too much, especially since I doubt anyone bought the book to read anything about her early life and it's pretty boring.  Once she meets her future husband in a Los Angeles nightclub, the book gets better.  She's clearly looks back on the early days of their relationship fondly and that serves to keep the book from feeling too much like a tell-all.

The book is pretty drama-free (and also not really of much substance, either) until their efforts to concieve a child.  Six months after being devastated by an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, Linda successfully concieved and this time the pregnancy (Brooke) was viable.  Still, she was no longer travelling with her husband and not long after Brooke was born, Hulk left for Los Angeles to shoot "No Holds Barred."  Linda was lonely and eventually suspected her husband of cheating.  This becomes a theme throughout the book.

Oddly, some relatively well-known drama that you'd expect to be there is covered in surprisingly broad strokes.  An argument that occurred when she got pregnant with Nick has been discussed in wrestling circles for many years.  The stories allign at first.  Linda goes off her birth control pills without Terry's knowledge (accidentally, according to Linda, who says she just lost track) and gets pregnant with Nick.  Reportedly, Terry/Hulk was angry because he would've cycled off steroids if he knew she went off the pill and a huge argument ensued.  I was expecting the details to emerge in Linda's version but as she tells it, the argument was more about the principle of the matter.

A few years later, a woman involved with the failed launch of Hogan's "Pastamania" chain of fast food restaurants sued Terry/Hulk civilly over a sexual battery claim.  In spite of it being a somewhat public legal battle that he won in court, Linda says she was largely kept in the dark about what happened.

Much of the book covers the "Hogan Knows Best" period through their divorce.  There isn't much to say about that other than that it largely expands on Linda's claims in the media this week and that the claims are largely the exact opposite of those in Hulk's recent book, "My Life Outside The Ring."  Which version is true?  Who knows?

I wasn't enthralled by the book, but it wasn't bad, and it certainly was an easy and entertaining enough read.  I probably won't ever have any desire to read it again, but I'm sure that plenty of people will enjoy it, the question is just how much.  Thumb in the middle, I guess.

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