Verdict: 3.5 Stars
Back in the good old days before reality television became overrun with bouffant-haired Jersey girls and teens trying to race each other to the delivery room, Mark and Dianne Burnett conceived of televised entertainment that allowed audiences to see truly driven people battle it out with the elements and each other in some of the most gorgeous and exotic places on Earth. As the creators of Eco-Challenge and later, Survivor, Dianne Burnett shuffled her family literally around the globe to bring a new level of understanding and entertainment to on-location television.
In The Road to Reality (Hay House Publishing, Burnett gives a rare behind-the-scenes look at what it took to stage some of the most difficult—albeit popular—moments on reality television. From helping plan the first Eco-Challenge while in her third trimester to packing up her two toddlers and joining her husband for three months in northern Africa, Burnett describes a family life that seemed to revolve around ultra-racing.
For fans of grueling endurance racing, it’s easy to find fault with the book. There are a lot of muddled and confusing details about the author’s own childhood and early career life. It has a running undercurrent of the author’s dissatisfaction at never realizing her own dreams of becoming an actress, a fact she brings up quite a bit. There is also a certain level of glamour portrayed in her early courtship with her husband, whom she knew was married at the time. The book is a lot less about Survivor and Eco-Challenge and a lot more about her unfulfilling home life and her kids.
Overall, the book is a quick read and may be of interest to fans of reality television, especially those shows that are more about competition and less about seeing who can yell the loudest off a balcony.
The Road to Reality goes on sale today from Amazon.