Leslie Jones wants to set one thing straight in her memoir: She is undeniable. The word pops up 11 times in the book. Indefatigable is another good word to describe a comic whose career didn’t really take off until she joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” at the age of 47, though perhaps it’s too many syllables for a standup routine.
Jones’ memoir, “Leslie F(asterisk)cking Jones,” which takes the name on her Memphis, Tennessee, birth certificate, Annette Leslie Jones, and drops the first name she never liked while adding her favorite adjective in the middle, is like her comedy — no-holds-barred. The focus is not on how Jones survived child abuse or racism or sexism, just that she did, she’s here now, and the world better shut up and listen to her. Even if they don’t, she’s not going to stop speaking her truth, even when it sometimes paints her in an awful light.
“One day, when I was probably around five,” writes Jones, “I was walking through the trailer park… and I saw a puppy just lying on the side of the road… for some reason I just started kicking this little puppy… I tell you this because I know that this is a moment my life when the road split, and I could have gone one of two ways, and the second way is to be a serial killer or even worse.”
In hindsight, Jones writes, “The psychology of what I was doing is clear: When your power is taken away, you need to reassert it somehow, and what better way than dominating something less powerful than you?” Jones doesn’t go too deep into her childhood abuse at the hands of a babysitter, but you sense that hours of therapy — and a personal relationship with God she found later in life — helped her become a confident adult.
Jones fans will enjoy the stories of a working comic on the road, behind-the-scenes “SNL” tidbits, how she became NBC’s No. 1 Olympics fan thanks to Twitter, and anecdotes from the various movie sets she’s been on, but the book touches on all those things only briefly.
In the end, it’s best consumed as life advice, even if the life led by the one giving the advice is entirely unique: “Live through the trauma, stop running from yourself — you are your best friend.”