Sunday, September 9, 2012

Open: An Autobiography

by Andre Agassi
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.

Tennis star Andre Agassi bares all in his account of his life, from young phenom whose father pushed him to "Hit harder" and asked (or coerced) players to hit with his son, to troubled teen at the Bollettieri Academy to revered veteran of the game.

My father read this soon after it came out, and recommended it to me. Whenever it came up, he'd talk to me about Agassi's father, or what Agassi said about other players - he was not a fan of Connors, for example. The one phrase that kept coming to mind while reading his memoir was "brutal honesty." I mean, Agassi goes so far as to tell you in the acknowledgements who his ghostwriter/co-writer is (incidentally, this added a book to my TBR list, The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer), as well as setting the record straight in ways that do not always portray him in the best light. This is a candid account for sure, as Agassi literally opens up about his struggles and how he comes to terms with who he is. His present-tense narrative with no quotation marks for speech could have been distracting, but instead it made the past events all the more immediate. It's hard to say I enjoyed it, but I found it compelling and would definitely recommend it to sports fans and biography fans alike.

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