book review: Behind the Bell by Dustin Diamond

I grew up watching Saved by the Bell. I remember when it premiered, and I watched it obsessively ever after. Seriously, for a few years when it was in syndication, I watched it for two hours EVERY DAY. I liked Saved by the Bell: The College Years. I still recognize random guest stars when they appear on other shows now. I can still recite dialog and song lyrics from the show. I had the cd for years after it stopped being cool. (Yes, it was cool for awhile).

Given my history of enjoyment with this show, I was excited to read Dustin Diamond's memoir about the show, Behind the Bell. I didn't even have high expectations, as celebrity memoirs are rarely well written, but I had to read it.

It's the worst book I've ever read. Ever.

I contemplated not blogging about because people already will either want to read it despite it's lack of literary virtue or want to read it because of the subject. This review will not change anyone's mind.

Despite the book itself being horrible, there clearly was no editor. The grammar was appallingly bad. The former copy editor in me wanted to take a red pen to it even though it was a library book. Words were misspelled. He used idiotic words such as douchenozzle to make a point. He also writes moronic, vague sentences, then follows them with the sentence "What I mean to say is this." (Say what you mean! Use your words!) The literary violations extend beyond letting the author have artistic control. The most egregious error: when the word horseshit needed a hypen to split it onto two lines, the hyphen appeared between the s and the h. Yes, horses-hit. How does that even happen in the post-typewriter world?

When I could get past the cringing from his complete misuse of me, myself and I, as well as that, which, who and whom, the memoir was unnecessarily mean and condescending to every other human being in the world, past, present and future. Diamond showed no perspective, decency or rationality. He writes off people he met as a child. Yes, I understand you thought Fred Savage was spoiled when he was eight. Does it mean he still is? Perhaps, but none of us can stand the scrutiny of the actions of our eight-year-old selves. He boasted about his own sexual exploits while deriding others for it. Although he is ridiculously misogynistic, he seems to hold sexual adventure against everyone but himself. Yes, this derision includes the women he slept with; he's incredibly hateful to them.

I finished the book, but it was uncomfortable to read. I'm not a prudish person, but it was hard to read the words of someone so clearly unable to let go of his hatred for so many people, places, situations and things. Diamond needs therapy. He needs an editor. He needs a fact checker. Mostly, he needs to find something to enjoy. He needs to find some sense of meaning in his life. It was uncomfortable to read because he's a human being.

Rating: 0 stars (Hated it. Seriously, don't waste your time. It's completely lacking any redeeming qualities.)
Pages: 288
Publication date: September 2009
Source: my local public library


  1. Wow! I'm unlikely to have picked up the book anyway, but now I certainly won't.

    I'm just glad I haven't come across any books I've disliked that much!

  2. I actually sort of wanted to read this. Now that I've read your review, I won't bother. Thanks for the honest review...I'm glad you decided to do a review of it since you'll save me some time.

  3. I watched Saved By the Bell on and off as well. Thanks for the very candid review! I'm not big on celeb memoirs anyway but it sounds like a book that would have really turned me off as well.

    One that I was totally disappointed in was Sean Astin's There and Back Again. It is hard to find out that people you enjoy watching on TV and film are truly self-centered idiots!

  4. I'm so sorry that you didn't like this book!

    I'm not a memoir person so this wasn't on my TBR list. I did see an interview on TV with Diamond and wasn't impressed with his interview either. He pretty much said that the book was a slam against the other actors that he's worked with.

    From what I got out of the interview, he's trying to be a stand up comedian. Not sure if that's what he was trying to do with the book or not, but I won't be reading it!

    I liked your honesty in your review. I actually think that reviews of books that you don't like are easier to review! Anyway, thanks for making me laugh too!

  5. Long live the negative reviews! Seriously, how else will people know what not to read?

  6. I kind of figured this book would royally blow. Now, on to some classic SBTB lines:

    "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared..."
    -Jessie Spano I feel better.

  7. Way to say it like it is! Now I will never even feel a desire to read this.

  8. I loved Saved By The Bell growing up too and still know the song by heart but thanks to you I promise to never read this book! Keep up the great reviews!

  9. Excellent review. I already had no intention of reading this book, but still very much enjoyed your review. First time visitor!

  10. This was a REALLY fun review to read! I love negative reviews when they say why a book is horrible. This isn't one I would have ever picked up anyway, but when I saw your zero star rating, I just had to read it to find out why!

  11. Hi, great review. I was in the same position as you after reading this book. I figured that other people may be interested in the content of the book, but wanted to save them from having to read it, so i created this article which features all the main 'revelations' from the text. I hope this saves some people from reading this trash.

    You can find the article by clicking on my name, i couldn't post a link in this post.


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