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A cage match, literary style

How these two books — one classic and one not so classic — compare. The answers might surprise you. Or not.

0528books

Beyond the Sun

We were delighted to receive a review copy of the latest tome to arrive on the literary landscape, a highly anticipated work titled “This Is Gonna Hurt.”

Penned by Ultimate Fighting Championship star — and author! — Tito Ortiz, “This Is Gonna Hurt” limns the ascension of Ortiz, known in publishing circles as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy,” from a rough childhood to an accomplished mixed martial arts career.

Rather than respond with a traditional review, however, we opted to compare “This Is Gonna Hurt” with another of our favorite — albeit slightly more established — world literature classics that also draws upon the theme of triumph in the face of loss and adversity. (This was tougher than it might seem, because modern literature isn’t always suitable for a family newspaper.)

And so we present ...

TALE OF THE TAPE: ‘ANNA KARENINA’ VS. ‘THIS IS GONNA HURT’

AUTHOR

“Anna Karenina:” Leo Tolstoy

“This is Gonna Hurt:” Tito Ortiz

FIRST PUBLISHED

AK: 1878

TIGH: 2008

SUBTITLE

AK: “A Novel in Eight Parts”

TIGH: “The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion”

NUMBER OF PAGES

AK: 948 (1930 Modern Library edition)

TIGH: 206 (including a four-page “dossier” listing important figures and facts, such as the slogan on the victory T-shirt Ortiz donned after beating Ken Shamrock at UFC 40: “I Just Killed Kenny! You Bastard!”)

TIMELESS, MEMORABLE PASSAGE

AK: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

TIGH: “I turned to my friend Damian and said, ‘You’d better stop this (expletive) (expletive) or I’m going to stomp a (expletive) hole in his face!’ Jenna heard all this going down and kept saying, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ But it was too late. Damian, who is a pretty big guy, went over to Too Short and told him, ‘You’d better walk away right now or you’re going to get a hole stomped in your face.’ ”

REVIEWS AND CRITICISM FROM FELLOW MEN OF LETTERS

AK: “One of the greatest love stories in world literature.” — Vladimir Nabokov; “Flawless as a work of art.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky

TIGH: “Tito is a (expletive) idiot, OK? He’s one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever met.” — Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

PHOTOGRAPHS

AK: No photos

TIGH: A photo section in the center of the book includes color pictures of Ortiz as an infant in a crib; Ortiz’s parents cleaning the leaves and stems out of a batch of marijuana; a shirtless Ortiz holding a giant fish on a fishing trip; and Ortiz and girlfriend Jenna Jameson embracing as they “contemplate love, not war.”

FUN FACT ABOUT AUTHOR

AK: In 1858, Tolstoy killed a bear at point-blank range after the bear surprised him on a hunting trip.

TIGH: After beating Guy Mezger at UFC 19, Ortiz donned a T-shirt stating, “(offensive term) Mezger is My (expletive).”

ANOTHER FUN FACT ABOUT AUTHOR

AK: After selling his family’s home in 1855, Tolstoy blew the money gambling.

TIGH: After beating Evan Tanner at UFC 30, Ortiz donned a T-shirt stating, “If You Can Read This I Just Stomped His (expletive)!”

A CHARACTER'S INNERMOST THOUGHTS ON TOILING AT HIS DAILY LABOR

AK: “The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of unconsciousness in which it seemed that the scythe was mowing by itself, a body full of life and consciousness of its own, and as though by magic, without thinking of it, the work turned out regular and precise by itself. These were the most blissful moments.”

TIGH: “Working at Spanky’s was nasty sometimes. I would have to chase guys out of the store ... Girls would come in with their girlfriends and try and play with the toys. Drugged-out people would wander in and try and steal stuff. It was crazy.”

ON LOSING ONE'S TEMPER IN A PASSIONATE EXCHANGE WITH AN ADVERSARY

AK: “ ‘Anna,’ he said. ‘You, you are to blame for everything!’ she cried, with tears of despair and anger in her voice, getting up. ‘I begged, I implored you not to go; I knew it would be unpleasant’... ‘Unpleasant!’ she cried. ‘Hideous!’ ”

TIGH: “I said, ‘That’s (expletive)! She’s not even in the business anymore!’ His response was that she still had something to do with that industry. I got real mad at that point. ‘She’s living the American Dream,’ I said, ‘and you don’t give a (expletive) about that? Who doesn’t watch porn?’”

DRAMATIC ACTION BY THE NARRATIVE'S HEROINE

AK: Wracked by jealousy, Anna throws herself under a train.

TIGH: Well, we’ll let the author tell it: “One night I was with Jenna and Heather walked up behind her and (performed an obscene maneuver). Jenna says, ‘What the (expletive)!’ and yells at her security to get ‘that (expletive) chick’ out of here.”

OPERAS

AK: At least seven complete operas have been inspired by “Anna Karenina.”

TIGH: No operas have been inspired by “This Is Gonna Hurt.” Yet.

PRINCIPLES

AK: As described in the 1997 book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” the Anna Karenina Principle suggests that in ecology and other fields, no one property guarantees success although many can guarantee failure.

TIGH: There is no This Is Gonna Hurt Principle to date. But we can hope.

FINAL LINES OF THE TOME (EXCLUDING EPILOGUE)

AK: “... but my life now, my whole life, regardless of all that may happen to me, every minute of it, is not only not meaningless, as it was before, but has the unquestionable meaning of the good which it is in my power to put into it!”

TIGH: “So that day, I smoked one last joint. And then I was done.”

And the winner of this throwdown: “Anna Karenina,” by split decision.

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