Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs - Levi Johnston I read this book because, like Sarah Palin’s, I was curious to see what Levi Johnston could find to write about for 288 pages. I didn’t have very high expectations for it, and I wasn’t disappointed.
For a book written with the help of/primarily by ghostwriters, I thought it could have been a lot better just in the delivery. Except for the occasional big word thrown in, most of the book felt like it was written by a 12-year-old. It was extremely episodic, and some of the ideas felt like they could have been threshed out more. Some of the sections are only a long paragraph, and some of the anecdotes felt unnecessary. Some of Levi’s hunting-related stories sort of come out of nowhere, and then are tied back to the main point of the book with a campy “and the moral of this story is” explanation. Like the story of Levi’s dad’s friend who gets eaten by a bear in the woods because he isn’t paying attention to his surroundings, and couldn’t get to his bow in time to save himself. Except Levi compares himself to the guy and says Tank and Rex are his weapons. But they can’t be very effective, since in this metaphor, Levi gets eaten by the bear.
There were also parts that were confusing and maybe accidentally misleading. The Playgirl photo shoot stands out the most. He says more than once, no frontal nudity, or so I was told, like that’s not what eventually happens. “I did have to admit that when my beautiful sister, Sadie, posed for a Playboy centerfold, I was grumpy. Like me, she was told there would be no frontal nudity either,” (198). Then, “I continued to hold the line at full frontal nudity for the cameras,” (204). I guess being protected by only a narrow hockey stick doesn’t correspond with Levi’s idea of no full frontal nudity, but he never explains further, or gives his reaction (or for that matter, anyone else’s) to the pictures that are actually used, and whether he feels he was duped.
Tank is a funny character, and that’s all he feels like, a character, not a real person in a real story. Just look at his career path: private-eye to body guard to managing Levi’s widely-varying gigs. I’d forgotten about the pistachio commercial – I think I only say it on TV a couple times.
Rex seems pretty useless as a lawyer. After the first time Levi mentions that Bristol doesn’t let Levi see Tripp when scheduled, I thought the lawyer should be doing something other than filing potions for hearings months away. Rex sure takes his time before telling Levi he needs to get a lawyer more familiar with family court. I’m not sure what has to happen before an Amber Alert can be announced, but surely law enforcement should have been somehow involved when Bristol wouldn’t return Levi’s calls and she even took the baby out of state. I really hope they can eventually get a custody agreement that is enforced, and that Levi gets to see his son, who has probably forgotten him.
One big pet peeve: I really wish the ghostwriters or editor would have put the dialogue in quotation marks. To make up for that lack, there is an overabundance of commas, many unnecessary.
I was thrilled that Levi included the lyrics to “Levi Johnston’s Blues,” written by awesome novelist Nick Hornby and sung by Ben Folds. To get the full experience however, listed to the song performer here: