When an accomplished body builder, a successful movie star, and a famous politician decides to write an autobiography, there is enormous anticipation, hype and hoopla. In ‘Total Recall’, Arnold Schwarzenegger etches an engaging self-portrait, but fails to enthrall his fans, who were looking forward to his ‘tell-all’ book. This 650 page tome is more of a political memoir of achievements than a celebrity autobiography.
The narrative is chronological, and so begins with the birth of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a small Austrian town. The son of an austere police chief, Arnold dreamt of moving to America – to become a bodybuilding champion and a movie star. Arnold elucidates his struggles with learning English, and talks about his dreams coming true – when, at the age of twenty-one, he was crowned Mr. Universe. Soon Hollywood offers started pouring in, and thus began the great ‘immigrant saga’ of the famous Terminator hero. Eager to serve the people, Arnold moved to the world of politics, and was Governor of California, from 2003-2011.
Arnold is in his element when he chronicles achievements – leading the state through a budget crisis and natural disasters, working across party lines for ensuring a better environment, election reforms, and bipartisan solutions.
For those looking for juicy details of his affairs, Arnold prefers not to wash dirty linen in public. The chapters on his relationship with Maria Shriver are poignant and insightful.
“Total Recall’ is all about eulogising the achievements of the author, and devoid of any self-examination. The book fails to establish any emotional connect with the reader. It is a striking Polaroid of a young successful immigrant, who realised his dreams – with sheer dedication and will power.