Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith

Title: Tough Sh*t
Author: Kevin Smith
Narrator: Kevin Smith
Series: N/A
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: 3/20/2012
Length: 5 hours, 58 minutes
Format: Unabridged Audio CDs
Genres: Nonfiction, Humor, Memoir
Challenges: 2012 Audiobook Challenge, 2012 Spring/Summer Reading Challenge
Source: Publisher (thank you!)
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★☆

Profane, honest, and totally real advice from comedian and director Kevin Smith – one of America’s most original voices 

Take one look at Kevin Smith: He’s a balding fatty who wears a size XXL hockey jersey, shorts, and slippers year-round. Not a likely source for life advice. But take a second look at Kevin Smith: He changed filmmaking forever when he was twenty-four with the release ofClerks, and since then has gone on to make nine more profitable movies, runs his own production company, wrote a bestselling graphic novel, and has a beautiful wife and kids. So he must be doing something right.

As Kevin’s millions of Twitter followers and millions of podcast listeners know, he’s the first one to admit his flaws and the last one to care about them. In early 2011, he began using his platform to answer big questions from fans-like “What should I do with my life?”- and he discovered that he had a lot to say. Tough Sh*t distills his four decades of breaking all the rules down to direct and brutally honest advice, including:

Why he has accepted Ferris Bueller as his personal savior, and what the Tenets of Buellerism can teach about hiding in plain sight and lip-syncing in the face of danger Why it’s really fun to eat but not so fun to be fat What to do about people who don’t like your policies ( for starters, tell them to pucker up and smooch your big ol’ butt) What Kevin’s idol Wayne Gretzky can teach us about creativity and direction For anyone who’s out of a job, out of luck, or just out of sugary snack foods,Tough Sh*t is an unabashedly honest guide to getting the most out of doing the least.

For someone who was around seven when Clerks premiered, I was very excited when I opened my box from Penguin Audio and saw this book. I didn’t need anyone to tell me who Kevin Smith is, what he looks like, or why he’s famous. I knew all that already thanks to my two older brothers. So I would like to half-heartedly dedicate this review to them. Brian and Blake, without you I would have been as clueless about who Kevin Smith was as all my friends were when I told them about this book. Sometimes I forget that the guys I hang around are younger than me and that my taste in films and music in the 90s was heavily influenced by my teenage brothers.

Even though I saw most of Kevin Smith’s films when I was probably too young to be watching them, I loved them instantly. No matter what the critics said, I found them hilarious. I also have a major soft spot geeky guys of any kind, especially since I’m a pretty geeky girl. It was pretty eye-opening to read all this behind-the-scenes stuff about the movies I enjoyed years ago. Honestly, I was totally oblivious to critic opinions about the films. I just watched them, and enjoyed them. I had no clue how much crap Kevin Smith put up with to make some of his films. There’s some pretty cool insight into the movie business, both indie and big six. I think all of that stuff is interesting enough, but there is a lot more to Smith’s book than film talk and cum jokes (though, there are a lot of those).

This book also offers some really great advice about discovering your passion and going for it. By chronicling his years from making Clerks trough today, he explains how he really got where he is: by not listening to people’s negative crap and following his dream. Of course, it’s not all as simple as that. There is tough shit to be endured, and that’s what I think Smith is trying to say in this book. There will be hardships and probably some failings. You have to take chances, but it will pay off in the end when you can look back and say you’ve accomplished something worthwhile (whether it be art, work, or an awesome family). The awesome part is that this advice is delivered in a voice that a younger generation can relate to. Kevin Smith may be close to twenty years older than me, but he talks like your best friend. He’s full of witty pop-culture references and profanity that color the speech of a lot of people today. He’s relatable, and I think that’s what makes this book work. He’s giving advice, but it doesn’t really feel like it. At least, not in the same way that your parents or teachers (or whoever) give you advice.

Kevin Smith reads this book himself, and it’s perfect. I mean, after all he’s a good speaker and only he can deliver his words just right. Also, he stops reading a couple of times to throw in some quick comments and I found that really entertaining. I also loved his voices for Tarantino and Bruce Willis. They were pretty close. At the end, he includes something his daughter wrote about him, and it has to be the sweetest thing ever. I’m pretty sure she reads it herself, which is also pretty cute.

If you know who Kevin Smith or have seen his films, you should grab this. If you don’t and you enjoy crude but witty humor, you should grab it anyway. There’s always time to watch the films after.

Leave a comment


  1. So jealous of you right now.
    Love your review. I can completely relate to how you knew about and felt about Kevin Smith and his movies. I grew up watching “guy” movies and still love guy humour. (Which my friend which are girls will never understand.) Thanks to my older brother, who will forever be the reason I’m as nerdy as I am. (Although I love it!)
    I never knew just how much he had to put up with and I will never understand why. I think he was a little ahead of his time, people just don’t give something new and different a chance and look at him now! He will forever be an amazing person in my eyes.

  2. I agree with Eli, I am so jealous of you right now. I didn’t even know he was writing a book! I cannot wait to pick this up, thank you so much for the review!!!


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