Admit One: A Journey Into Film – Book Review

Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James

A journey into film. Sounds really interesting. In fact, quite a few people thought so (I will link to their reviews at the end of this review). I am sorry to say, I did not happen to agree with these people, perhaps partly because I had such high expectations from their reviews.

According to the back of the book:

Admit One details how self-deprecating writer Emmett James escaped from the pains of adolescence by going to the cinema.

I suppose this is a fairly accurate description of the book, but it simply wasn’t how it felt to me. I didn’t feel that there was always a strong connection between the films and James’ life, as I expected there would be. I felt like this was simply a memoir of someone with a rough childhood who happened to go to the movies alot, I didn’t quite buy that movies were something that truly influenced who James was, other than making him want to be an actor.

Even then, this could be a story if James had overcome the odds to make it big. Instead, he dons a pair of rubber breasts for a boxing match scene and photoshops pictures of Nicholas Cage’s wedding. Yes, he finally makes his way into the James Cameron’s “Titanic”, but even there he didn’t exactly have the lead role.

By no means do I think only ‘big’ people should be allowed to write memoirs, but I just didn’t quite see the reason for James’. I thought he made some very bad choices and didn’t come across as a very likeable person. I also thought the book could have used another read through by an editor.

Although I didn’t enjoy this book, you might if you are really into film. Or, perhaps, if you are somewhat older than me and would have seen in the theaters the same films that James did, instead of watching them later on TV or VHS.

Buy this book on Amazon.

Four people who would disagree with my review:
Ticket to Anywhere

Literate Housewife

My Own Little Reading Room

Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Two people who would agree with my review:
From the Mixed-Up Files

The Bluestocking Society

7 comments to Admit One: A Journey Into Film – Book Review

  • I guess my review was sort of half-way between agree and disagree. I enjoyed the book, and I thought it worked pretty well…when there was a strong connection between the movies and the stories he told. When there wasn’t a real connection, it fell very flat.

    I did enjoy his stories about Hollywood and crashing the award dinners and that sort of thing. But I agree that it could have used a bit more editing.

  • I completely understand your review. I think that we had different experiences with this book because I am in his same age range like you mentioned and I think I also was reading this book for a different reason if that makes sense. I enjoyed that he talked about his life in the context of film, even though some sections were more loosely based on the film than others. I mentioned in my review that I was that the section he wrote after he moved to Hollywood didn’t work as well for me, but I think the point he was trying to make is that it’s okay to not become a blockbuster level actor. That was his goal, but he grew to be okay with what was. You do raise an interesting question about what is memoir-worthy. He definitely didn’t meet yours and you were right to say so. I’ll have to give that some thought because I haven’t really gone into reading one from that perspective. Great post! It has really got me thinking.

    You might have missed this because you were off getting married, but I also nominated you for a blogging award. :) Here’s the link:

  • I agree with you wholeheartedly. See my review:

    I enjoyed your review!

  • Jane Hargreaves

    I absolutely loved this book, a feel although of course your feelings are valid about it you did really miss the point as Literate Housewife said. The entire point was someone coming to terms with not becoming Leonardo DiCaprio or an actor of that movie star caliber but instead an actor making a living from doing what he loves. I actually found it really inspiring, how many people can really say they got to live out their life’s dream? Maybe you should give it a read again. I HIGHLY recommend it not just to lovers of film, but anyone looking for an inspirational story in the vain of Tobias Wolfe’s “This Boy’s Life”


  • This is in my TBR pile. I wonder which group of you I’ll agree with ?

  • […] Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James – Buy this book on Amazon […]

  • […] he was able to pull off writing a book about it.  Two reviews that echoed similar thoughts are Jen at Devourer of Books and Jessica at The Bluestocking Society.  I’m sure they say it much better than I do.  […]