This was an unexpected find. I can’t even remember how I came to know that Jackie Chan’s autobiography is out there but when I saw it, I knew I would want to read it. I grew up watching so many early Jackie Chan movies and yet I had no idea who is the man behind all the stunts, choreography and funny faces.
By the time I understood what had happened, it was too late. My impulsive decision led to my decade of darkness, though it was in those ten years that I became Jackie Chan.
Now I really want to find some of those really old Jackie Chan movies and re-watch them after twenty years or so!
I’m actually not sure if the first movies I ever saw were Disney animations or Jackie Chan’s early movies like Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow or Drunken Master. 🙂 I loved watching early on those kung fu movies and mimic the moves later on. I was maybe five or six and most likely way too young to watch those let alone try to do kung fu on my on. I’m pretty sure my mom would have me cover my eyes with the more violent moments. Maybe?
This autobiography opens up Jackie Chan’s life from the early childhood to the success he has today. I didn’t expect there to be so many honest, painful moments revealed. So in a way I enjoyed reading about the miserable years he spent in the school that gave him his skills in martial arts. For someone like me, who has been born in the 80s and into a western country, it is very difficult to imagine a super strict boarding school where you give everything you got every single day. You don’t get sick and even if you do, it won’t slow you down Rinse and repeat that for 10 years and just try to do your best and survive. And still, as Jackie Chan said, your master would have the right to beat you to death. It was a tough school so no wonder that freedom, or the freedom of earning a little money, gives you many temptations like gambling.
Never Grow Up reveals some painful moments about how Jackie Chan has treated his first love or how he lost his temper with his child and threw the boy aside. These were unpleasant things to read because of course one would like to think best of a childhood idol, who in general gives out a very sympathetic picture of himself. I do appreciate him opening up about these and feeling bad about what had happened. Seems like he has been through quite a bit of self reflection and growing up, despite the books title.
The book of course focuses also on how Jackie’s career started to pick up, bit by bit, all the way to the Hollywood legend he is these days. The descriptions about his many injuries are very terrifying and I’m amazed the man is still alive and doing still the same physical work! I’m glad Never Grow Up didn’t sugar-coat the difficulties of what happens when you don’t break through and also what happens when you finally do. The book shows where it hurt, literally.
Never Grow Up gets it’s place in the Reading Challenge and fills the prompt of:
45. The book title has a negative in it
I was pleasantly surprised by Never Grow Up. Jackie Chan tells widely about his rough childhood and what was it like to navigate your way through the Hong Kong film industry and become a Hollywood star eventually. It’s a fascinating read about the earlier movie industry and the world of stunts.
Oh yeah, there was a nice advice from Jackie’s godfather, which was almost exactly what my doctor told me when we recently discussed about work, stress and panic attacks. I felt this quote touch my heart and the feeling was a pang of guilt. I love my work, but I need to learn to balance all the important things in my life better. ❤
I hope one day you understand that life isn’t only about work, but there are more important things to care about. And if you neglect them, you may find one day that you’ve left it too late.