Book Review: Behind the Bell by Dustin Diamond

Behind the Bell by Dustin DiamondTitle: Behind the Bell
Author: Dustin Diamond
Genre: Entertainment
Source: library
Published: September 29, 2009 by Transit Publishing

For the first-time, Diamond presents the inside story of the young cast from Saved by the Bell that the viewing public thought were so lucky . . .Learn the dark, behind-the-scenes story of the cast and crew's extreme lifestyle: sex, drugs, and wild parties.

Post-Bell, discover how Diamond used his natural comedic talents to overcome being typecast as a child actor and how he reinvented himself through stand-up comedy and reality TV.

Working in Hollywood might represent an American Dream, but for many youngsters it is a true nightmare. Dustin Diamond is best known for his character Samuel Screech Powers in the late '80s and '90s on the long-running American TV teen sitcom Saved by the Bell (SBTB). Diamond's new book gives readers the disheartening story of an ex-child star. Dustin faced serious challenges moving his career beyond his comic role as the smart, funny, and endearing nerd of Bayside High School on the show that made him an audience favorite. Through his eyes, we uncover Hollywood's myths.

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Why I Read this Book: I watched ‘Saved by the Bell’ growing up, so Behind the Bell definitely caught my attention.

What I Liked: The behind the scenes, day-to-day production stuff was interesting to read. This is the kind of stuff I was hoping to read about when I picked up this book, along with who was dating whom and such. I was under the impression that this was a ‘tell all’ book, but it was mostly Dustin complaining and whining about anyone and everyone he came into contact with during his run as Screech.

What I Didn’t Like: Where do I begin? There were A LOT of eye rolling moments when I was reading this book. Half the stuff in this book (of what I read) was unbelievable. That’s not to say it didn’t happen, but I questioned a lot of what I read. I’m sure there is some truth in there, but there’s also some exaggerations as well. I was left wondering how much of what I read was fact and how much was fabricated. Then, when I was 56% into the book, I decided to do a little digging online. I came across a snippet from Oprah’s Where Are They Now where Dustin says that this book was ghost written; that he talked to a guy (the ghost writer) a few times. “The book has some truth in it and a lot of the stories were just kind of throwaways.” At that point, I didn’t want to waste any more of my time reading this book. I was hoping for SBTB memories and stories about his cast mates, not fabricated tales you can’t decipher from the actual truth. (Which is why I categorized this book as ‘entertainment’ as opposed to ‘nonfiction’.)

Dustin gives himself too much credit, like when he credits himself to helping Mark-Paul Gosselaar with his lines, and thus landing the role of Zack. How he (Dustin) “received the most fan mail”. Or when he does give praise to his fellow cast mates, he has to one up them: One thing everyone was pretty equal on was memorizing their lines…but I was usually the quickest.”

Dustin also mentions his “humongous dong” a few times, and clearly he wants to make sure you don’t forget that “not-so-little” tidbit of information. And there’s his sexcapades at Disneyland. He brags not only about the size of his penis, but about how many people he’s slept with and where: “Is it bragging to say I’ve banged over two thousand chicks in my life? Maybe it is, but it’s a fact.” and “I banged girls right on the set. Oh yeah, that’s right – on the SBTB set.” And he had the audacity to call Tiffani-Amber Thiessen a slut and Mario Lopez a man-whore? Ha!

One part that really shouldn’t have been in the book (and I don’t even know if this is even fact or fiction) was his relationship with the then NBC vice-president, which started (at least the kissing part) when he was a minor (she was 18 years his senior). I don’t care if this is true or not, what really bothered me was that he was publicizing this after the woman died. So she has no way of telling her side or denying it or whatever. He says “I knew I couldn’t tell anyone. Not a soul. Not until now.” Why speak of this now, after she has passed on and can’t respond to his accusations?

And lastly, there was one section, The Sniper, about Dustin and his cats that didn’t belong in this book. It had nothing to do with SBTB.

Overall Impression: Dustin comes off as  whiny, bitter, and jealous. He says in the book “I’m not trying to paint a whole ‘woe is me’ portrait…” but that’s what this book essentially is – a pity party of one. If I were to compare Behind the Bell to celebrity gossip rags, I’d say it read like Star magazine – lots of claims from unreliable sources that are hit or miss and you don’t know what to believe.

Brianna’s Rating:

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. Yikes! I'll pass. How could a publicist or agent not stop him from "writing" something that could only hurt his public image?! Who wants to read someone asking for a pity party or self-aggrandizing - especially when in the scope of things they've had one of the luckier life experiences? Great review!

    1. They knew SBTB had a huge fan base, and this being the only SBTB book out there, they probably thought it would be big. Dustin is desperate for money, so he'll do anything. The guy was even selling T-shirts in hopes of saving his house from being foreclosed on.

  2. Tell your blog to stop eating my comments! LOL

    I've been waiting on this review for a while, and I still can't get over that it's so much of a wah wah woe is me pity party! I'm with you-if this had had more of the behind the scenes stuff, I'd be all over that! But you know, every time I see him on TV, whether it's an interview, or reality show, he's such a jerk! I mean like big time douche. So maybe this really was his writing, either that or his ghost writer really captured him well.

    1. Sorry! (Bad Blogger, bad!)

      It had some production-related stuff but not much. Dustin feed his ego as much as he could. He does come across as a jerk.

  3. When this book came out, I heard it was a big mess! I just read Neil Patrick Harris' autobio and he provides a rebuttal to what this book says about him. I don't recall the exact issue, but NPH kept it classy and basically said DD is an idiot without actually saying he's an idiot.

    I don't blame you for not finishing.

    1. I can't remember exactly (and this was a library ebook I borrowed so I no longer have the book to reference to) but I remember DD implying that the guy who played Max on SBTB (who was married at the time) was romantically involved with NPH. And if I recall correctly, it wasn't like DD actually saw anything with his own eyes; it was just an assumption DD had.

  4. I remember hearing about this book when it first came out and despite liking SBTB, deciding to skip it. I think that most of his castmates couldn't stand DD then or now, and he seems like a giant jerk! Good call on not wasting your time with this one!

    1. I have a completely different impression of DD now, that's for sure. But I still want my SBTB fix so I'm hoping that one of the other cast members will write a book about it. I know Mario has written a few books, though I'm not sure how much of SBTB is discussed in any of them, if at all....?


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