BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

Blind SideI rarely ever say this: skip the book, and go see the film version of The Blind Side (which got Sandra Bullock her much-deserved Oscar win).

The story of Michael Oher – a massive young man estranged from his addict mother, his dysfunctional siblings, and lost to the welfare system, who has been blessed with immeasurable athletic talent – and his relationship with the wealthy Tuohy family of Memphis, Tenn., works better on film in this case than on the pages.

But if read you must (readers unite!), then might I suggest you wait a few months for I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond, a memoir by none other than Michael Oher himself. It’s due out February 8, 2011 from Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin. High time Oher took on his story!

Michael Lewis’s book, on which the film was based, definitely has its entertaining, tearful, inspiring moments. But to get to those gems, you have to plow through reams of football history and miniscule data-filled details; unless you’re one of those absolutely devoted fans who can’t ever get enough of numbers and dates, you’re going to be trying to skip more than a few pages. Lewis also has … shall we say … a rather florid way of writing … and his devoted descriptions of Leigh Anne Tuohy alone will have your eyes rolling.

That said, Lewis managed against tough odds to track down just about everyone in Oher’s young life and had 300+ pages to tell the more in-depth story. Lewis is not lacking in tenacity. Those many pages also mean that Lewis’ book is quite a bit different from its celluloid incarnation, so be warned.

All that football history, training, and game logistics gleaned from Lewis’ title did prove useful in better understanding the recent updates in the April suicide of University of Pennsylvania’s football team former captain and defensive end, Owen Thomas. Reports that the promising college player suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, an Alzheimer’s-like brain disease caused by too many hard hits to the head, found mostly in NFL players, at least two of whom have also been documented suicides – were somehow more comprehensible (and seemingly more tragic) given the growing intensity and competition that wannabe NFL stars must survive to even noticed.

Final lesson learned: Mommies, don’t let your babies grow up to be football players! Even Oher’s prowess can best be appreciated from the stands!

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2006


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