I’m not a fan of celebrity memoirs but I am a fan of professional tennis, so Agassi’s bestseller was one of the first ones I downloaded on my new Kindle. I’m about half way through it and I just have to say I get why it has garnered such great reviews. I really do.
Most books in this genre are very “And then I did, and then I said, and blah blah blah.” There’s very little self-exploration or even an attempt to understand why an action was taken or an emotion was felt. Not so in Agassi’s story. It’s as if we’re embedded in his brain as he tries to deal with his angry, abusive father, climbs his way up the pro tennis ladder, wins matches, loses matches, sets fire to things, rebels against authority. He never makes excuses for himself; he simply reveals himself, for better or worse.
What really amazes me is how much self-loathing he experienced as a young player. I always thought professional athletes – especially champions – had nerves of steel, unshakable egos, one-track minds. Agassi lets us see just how insecure he really was, even as he was beating the best in the world.
I haven’t finished the book, as I said, but I’m already recommending it to everyone I talk to. There was a time when I thought Agassi was all about “image” (his Nike ad slogan was “Image is everything”). But there’s nothing superficial about this guy. Nothing at all.
Oh, did I mention that the book is really well written? That’s no small thing, either.