Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Trejo by Danny Trejo
Narrator: Danny Trejo, Donal Logue
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on July 6, 2021
Genres: Non Fiction
Length: 13 hours, 19 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
On screen, Danny Trejo the actor is a baddie who has been killed at least a hundred times. He’s been shot, stabbed, hanged, chopped up, squished by an elevator, and once, was even melted into a bloody goo. Off screen, he’s a hero beloved by recovery communities and obsessed fans alike. But the real Danny Trejo is much more complicated than the legend.
Raised in an abusive home, Danny struggled with heroin addiction and stints in some of the country’s most notorious state prisons, including San Quentin and Folsom, from an early age, before starring in such modern classics as Heat, From Dusk till Dawn, and Machete. Now, in this funny, painful, and suspenseful memoir, Danny takes us through the incredible ups and downs of his life, including meeting one of the world’s most notorious serial killers in prison and working with legends like Charles Bronson and Robert De Niro.
In honest, unflinching detail, Danny recounts how he managed the horrors of prison, rebuilt himself after finding sobriety and spirituality in solitary confinement, and draws inspiration from the adrenaline-fueled robbing heists of his past for the film roles that made him a household name. He also shares the painful contradictions in his personal life. Although he speaks everywhere from prison yards to NPR about his past to inspire countless others on their own road to recovery and redemption, he struggles to help his children with their personal battles with addiction, and to build relationships that last.
Redemptive and painful, poignant and real, Trejo is a portrait of a magnificent life and an unforgettable and exceptional journey through tragedy, pain, and, finally, success that will transfix and inspire.
So I was interested in reading Trejo, because of being a fan of Sons of Anarchy. The author photo below is one I took at the Season 7 premier in 2014 in Los Angeles. I also got his autograph.
Trejo is laid out in an interesting fashion. Instead of being chronological, the stories jump around a little in different time periods. I found this slightly confusing at first but it served a purpose. The stories are told more by themes and mostly chronological in the theme. There is a prison and criminal theme, a recovery theme, a family/marriage / parenting theme, and a movie / tv theme.
The background of everything is the family and environment which led to some of his choices and how he handled certain things. His relationships and treatment of women were affected by his childhood home life and what he saw in the neighborhood and with his own parents and relatives, with crimes, gangs, drugs and misogyny. Danny Trejo had some very bad luck and some very good luck.
The first part of Trejo is the unvarnished details of his criminal life and time in prison. It’s a harrowing situation and not everyone survives. Danny had his uncle’s experience and reputation to guide him but it was still wild.
Next we go on to recovery and having struggled himself, Danny worked to help others while continuing on his own path of sobriety. I can believe it must have been so satisfying to contribute to helping people. His combination of working in recovery and believing in God helped him to persevere. It was interesting to learn about some of the methods and ways he helped people with their addiction. The environment really did a number on him, and his family, including his wives and children. The crime, gangs and drugs were prevalent.
His journey to Hollywood began with playing parts of prison inmates or parolees. It continued because of his boxing skills, connections to other former inmates and eventually to others in the industry who understood the culture. I saw him in Sons of Anarchy and when I mentioned I was reading this, my daughter said oh from Spy Kids. His familial background made him want to be the breadwinner and he took every role he could of all types. It is all honest work whether it is a hit movie or a bit part or a low budget film. His relationship with God made him want to give back in many ways including feeding others once he started Trejo’s Tacos and other restaurants.
I enjoyed learning about his life from its crazy tough start to recovery and fame. His efforts to improve himself with helping others and giving back are impressive. I am glad he had some fun in addition to handling all the troubles and working hard to build a workable life and family.
I really like the fact the narration is performed by the author. It feels even more like him, if that makes sense. It was like he was talking to me, telling me stories. His voice is slow and measured enough, I was able to listen at 1.4x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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