April 5, 2012

Andre Agassi - Open (Autobiography)

I'm quite bad at writing about stuff, more so about movies and books.  As in, apart from the general writing skills which can't be helped much, I'm also confused about how much the review should be based on actual contents of the book/movie, and how much should be based on discussion over its quality. The problem is, unlike a professional reviewer, I'm not quite sure who I'm writing the review for. If by any chance someone stumbles upon this page, and reads about the story of a book/movie he/she was planning to read, then I would have just done a great disservice to both the person as well as the book/movie. So, let me stick with the format I'm more comfortable with - just a cursory discussion on the quality of the stuff, and recommendations. Actually, its quite easy to figure out the recommendations part as well - if I'm writing about something, it must be quite good in my opinion (or a small probability that it would be very very bad, which again would make it interesting as well). 

The other day, I had ordered loads of autobiographies when some of my relatives were coming over to Hong Kong for a trip. Mostly, I had ordered some interesting mix of autobiographies - Jeff Bezos, Andre Agassi, Steve Jobs, Kishore Biyani, etc. 'Open' by Andre Agassi was my first sportsperson biography, and I was not quite sure what to expect from it. I used to watch tennis earlier, in my school days, around the same time as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were at the top of their game. If only I had read this book back then, to better understand the game and what goes behind it. 

This book is not about someone's love for tennis or anything like it. Its about Andre's journey of self-discovery, and his rebellion. It may sound odd, but for a large part of his career, Andre hated tennis, and started playing the game only because his father left him no choice. It details his feeling at different points of his career, how he left like quitting after every loss, and how he decided never to lose to a few players ever again. Even if you have never seen an actual game, you may relate to the feelings, and will be cheering for him in matches played years back. 

The writing style was a complete shocker to me, and I was hooked onto the book from the very start. Written in first person, and present continuous form, it makes you go through his life as it happened, and not as an after-thought written 20 years later. This may be the first biography in such detailed format which I have read. Most others deals with events and their significance, this one deals with emotions and feelings at each point of time. Hence the thought that I wish I had read the book (or he had written the book) much earlier, while the matches were still on. 

Definitely worth a read. 

1 comment:

nightflier said...

I love andre agassi and love how 'open' the book really is!
Apart from the nostalgia, I think it is a pretty mature sportsperson biography, in a telling-things-as-they-are/were way.