As far as autobiographies go, Eminem's The Way I Am makes for a pretty good paperweight.
Essentially a series of brief reminiscences scattered among reproductions of handwritten lyric pages, candid photos, and a plethora of pics that make Detroit look like the wasteland wherever The Road takes place, the book doesn't offer much in the way of rich literature or keen insight. Motley Crue's The Dirt, by comparison, reads like Dylan's Chronicles.
It's not that The Way I Am doesn't have enough salacious stories or life-inside-the-fishbowl revelations, though the book could use more of both. It's that it does nothing to enlarge our understanding of Eminem.
Maybe superfans will be happy with page after page of pictures of Shady in the studio, on the stage, at home with Hailie, flipping the bird, flipping the bird again, and chilling with Marilyn Manson and Kid Rock. But all that stuff is really just meant to satisfy the Stans. Anyone looking for a deeper glimpse into the mind of Marshall Mathers would probably do better to re-watch 8 Mile.
Given Eminem's gift for gab, the book's lazy language is also a buzzkill. Eminem the rapper would verbally bitchslap a rival MC who larded his lyrics with the tired clichés, flat phrases, and trite conclusions that bog down this marketing event of a memoir (new album's out next year, kiddies!). Some examples: His career is "blowing up"; "It got really fucking crazy after 8 Mile"; "I fought tooth and nail."
And if I had a dollar for every sentence in the book that ends with the words "and shit," I'd probably have about eighteen more dollars.
The Way I Am is also frustratingly jumpy. One page, Eminem is dealing with the effects of fame. The next, he's thinking about his uncles' suicides. Then: dick jokes.
That herky-jerky feeling, combined with the shallow writing, means The Way I Am has all the narrative momentum and meta-cognition of a Fred Durst verse. But if you weren't interested in those things anyway, you can still enjoy plenty of pictures of Em hanging with D12 and shit.
WATCH! Eminem - "The Way I Am"