From a young age, Jason Diamond was enamored with John Hughes films. Sixteen Candles provided a distraction from his broken home, The Breakfast Club was a model for surviving high school unscathed, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles became a Thanksgiving tradition, replacing family and indulgent meals. Hughes’s films enabled Diamond to momentarily escape into enchanting worlds. As an adult, Diamond sought to discover meaning through writing a memoir about Hughes, yielding unexpected results and culminating in Diamond’s own memoir on the experience.
When readers start the memoir they may wonder why they are reading a memoir about the author and not Hughes. This question is soon forgotten amidst the captivating tale of Diamond’s struggle to discover meaning in the harsh, unforgiving reality of a world that stands in stark contrast to Hughes’s polished, harmless suburbia. It’s a story that anyone can relate to, particularly millennials who have or are currently facing similar difficulties finding purpose and direction in their lives. What sets this memoir apart from other memoirs of 20 and 30 something year-olds is its brutal honesty. Diamond doesn’t gloss over the tough periods of his life, and at the end of the memoir everything doesn’t miraculously fall into place. Instead, it seeks to address both the benefits and detriments of misplaced hope in false idols.
The memoir is, in large part, successful because the author does not lecture or advise readers. It is an authentic, heartfelt story told without ulterior motive. Diamond has a distinct voice emphasized by his biting humor and candidness. Both those unfamiliar with Hughes’s work and Hughes enthusiasts alike will delight in Diamond’s investigative work into the late director. This memoir is for anyone who has ever felt that a movie, character or auteur is the one constant in their life, the one thing that they can count on.
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