Friday, October 11, 2013

Running with Monsters: A Memoir, by Bob Forrest and Michael Albo

Running with Monsters: A Memoir
Authors: Bob Forrest and Michael Albo
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Source: Edelweiss and NetGalley

I used to watch the TV show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew as a guilty pleasure, so I knew who Bob Forrest was before I picked up this book. On the show, he is portrayed as a well-liked and well-respected counsellor with a celebrity background who can relate to both drug addiction and fame. I guess I was hoping that by reading his memoir I would learn more about his background, including his celebrity status. I've heard him talk about his rock and roll days but I simply can't place his band (Thelonious Monster). Reading the book didn't really change that. I just don't know that band, except from hearing it referenced by Forrest on Celebrity Rehab. I was also hoping he'd explain why he never takes that hat off, but that was not answered to my satisfaction. Alas.

The other thing I guess I was hoping for was a little more insight into the show itself. Even though I enjoyed it in the beginning, I quickly became suspicious of some of the show's practices, including how the celebrity clients were cast and how staged some of the scenes may have been. Specifically, there was a person named David in the first few seasons who was supposed to have been the agent of several of the celebrity patients, but who was also apparently responsible for the relapses of more than one of them. The show implied that he was providing drugs for some of them but it also seemed that he got a producer credit. It just seemed suspicious, so I was hoping maybe Bob Forrest would shed some light onto some of these practices. In that respect, I did get my wish. Sort of.

Bob Forrest does talk about Celebrity Rehab, including some complaints about the show. But his complaints surprised me. He is far less critical of the show than I imagined he might be, standing behind the format and casting practices, but balking at them as the show took off. He seemed wishy washy in his criticisms, like perhaps he was holding back. I'm not sure.

One thing he was not shy about, however, was criticizing fellow show counsellor Loesha Zeviar. I remember her from the show and from the spinoff, Sober House, and she was one of my favourites. She always seemed professional and fair. And it's actually those qualities that led Forrest to criticize her. Apparently Zeviar reported Forrest for entering into a romantic relationship with a patient at the rehab clinic (a woman who is still involved with Forrest, and with whom he now has a child). Forrest admits that Zeviar was correct about his relationship with the patient, and that it was a clear violation of the rules, but that does not stop him from devoting several pages to explaining how "betrayed" he felt by his friend. I can understand his feelings, but it came across as petulant and immature, particularly because he chose to call her out by name. It was the least gracious part of the book, especially considering it's pretty clear that Loesha Zeviar didn't do anything wrong except tell the truth. Maybe I should look out for her book instead.

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