I was quite excited to read this book for several reasons. First, Edge studied radio broadcasting at the same college where I studied journalism (and, in fact, once he began appearing on WWF TV, I recognized him instantly from wandering the hallways), so it was as close to a "local boy makes good" story as I was going to get.
I also remember when he won the Toronto Star contest for free wrestling lessons at Ron Hutchison's gym.
Going into it, I felt his book would be different in that he hadn't lived through the lengthy careers that a Jerry Lawler or Mick Foley had at the time of their autobiographies.
As an author, Copeland doesn't fall into that annoying habit some wrestling books have of explaining every minor detail from scratch. In other words, you really have to have been following wrestling since, say, 1998, to appreciate many of his antecdotes. He says early on that he hopes the book can be enjoyed by wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans alike. Well, if I wasn't a wrestling fan, I'd probably walk away from this book underwhelmed, but that certainly wasn't a problem for me, personally.
Edge's storytelling style is fun. While not a Foley level of humor, he manages to poke some fun at himself, the business and some of his colleagues while rarely offending anyone. Whereas Ric Flair's first autobiography was often quite negative, taking shots at various people on the written page, you get the opposite feeling after reading Edge's book.
In fact, Edge's positive outlook is really something that fuels the whole book. He has a tremendous, warm relationship with his family and his friends, particularly his mother, and used it throughout his life to offset near-poverty and tough times. This shines through in his prose.
And like Foley, Edge wrote the book himself, which deserves a lot of credit. He could have just as easily dictated his life story into a tape recorder or ghost writer, but chose instead to make it a hands-on project. Full credit for that.
Now the negative aspects: For one, I don't like the book's habit of having large, pull-out quotes on virtually every page. I mean, there are some quotes you can bring attention to, but there certainly wasn't enough here to warrant a pull-out quote on every single page!
Secondly, there's just far too much detail on some of Edge's lesser-known work between 2001-2003. You have to be a pretty loyal Edgehead to want to know intimate details on his mini-feud with Chris Jericho on SmackDown, for example. It's almost if he's saying "I had a program with this guy, then this guy, then I tagged up with him, then I fought another guy..." although he puts it far more eloquently.
I don't know -- I'd almost rather he had used the tried-and-true WWE writing method of quotes from other wrestlers (Christian, Foley, Kurt Angle, whomever) if he needed to fill space. I do realize that unlike Flair, Lawler, etc., he doesn't have as much material to work with; I just wish there would have been a better way to get to 250-odd pages.
To top it off, this was written well before his Rated R Superstar era, which of course, was where most well-known, controversial and memorable work took place. You don't even get the Matt Hardy and Lita stories (although they're all "friends" in this book.
Overall Rating: Transitional Champion. If you're an Edge fan, it's certainly not a bad read. But given how his career has since peaked, ended and even began again in 2020, it's the type of thing that is just begging for a sequel.