What is it about fat kids? Those who were bullied, who never fit in, almost always become the legends. It’s almost as if they are the only ones who realize that they have the choice, and the power to be anyone they want to be. And whoever they become, whatever their personae, it is always memorable; Michael Myers of Halloween, Jake Sasseville of Late Night Republic – bad or good, those overlooked become characters unforgettable from which legends are made and stories told.
And while we talk about wishing for something different, fantasize about the ‘what if’ of our own lives, our reactions to people like Jake Sasseville are extreme. You either love him or hate him. There’s no in between. But Jake isn’t worried about that. He just wants to be noticed. He wants to be noticed because he has a message: Be who you are. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. “Trust your intuition rather than your intellect….The chance to succeed is simply more thrilling than the inevitability of failure, so why play a small game?” Sasseville follows his own advice. His book, ‘Slightly Famous’ is the story, many stories, of how he has come to this place.
For the reader of this book who is comfortable; titled and well paid, or in training to catch that train to mediocrity, this book may frustrate, frighten or anger you. For the underdog; the unemployed, the dreamers, those with ideas and ambition, maybe without a backup plan, reading this book will make you realize that you may not make top dog but your bark can be heard.
The author writes about the challenges he faces, “The ‘real world’ was forcing me to choose between my childhood dreams or to move on to something more ‘practical’.” When he’s faced with hard times, he takes a road trip. When people, everyone really, tell him something is impossible, he goes on and does it anyway. Yet, he doesn’t ever refer to himself as knowing what he’s doing, or having the answers. That’s the point – his honesty is not only disarming but empowering. He makes mistakes. He learns. You can’t help but think, hey if this guy could do it, maybe…”Even in these early days, I was acting on ambition and impulse. It seemed to work”.
Jake Sasseville’s ‘Slightly Famous’ is the honest, irreverent story about a fat kid with too much imagination. It should be on the required reading list in college classrooms everywhere. Why? Because Sasseville’s message is that you have to make your place, not find it. I would tell my students that the lesson here is that Jake had the imagination, but more importantly, the balls to make himself into who he is. You have to develop a pair of your own and not just sit on them, and let everything be handed to you on a plate. Maybe life wasn’t meant to be easy but it certainly wasn’t meant to be boring. Jake Sasseville’s “Slightly Famous” is an entertaining read and an important read for those with the courage to learn from it. Jake gets his message across, Life? BE IN IT.
What is it about fat kids growing up – society’s outcasts and the hard times they know? You could say that fat kids rule the world because they certainly never let you forget about it. Thank God.