When I started this book, I must say that I was determined not to like it. I had no real desire to read about the life of a tennis player, that I was very much aware of, but my face to face book group chose it for us.
Well, surprise, surprise, it was very engaging and very interesting, far more than I ever expected and each time I put it down, I looked forward to picking it up and reading it. Who would have "thunk"?
I was quite struck by the easy way the book is written, by the sincerity of the words on the page which exposed this young man in all his vulnerabilities. If I remembered correctly, he was one of tennis’ bad boys, the one who was influential in bringing color to the tennis court, but now he does not seem so bad after all, rather he seems a sympathetic figure, one almost consumed or driven by an almost Obsessive Compulsive Disorder like syndrome about tennis, one who professes a love/hate relationship with the career he has chosen.
This book is quite amazing. As a young boy, Agassi has had to deal with a father who is abusive in his relentless effort to make him the number one tennis player and a mother who seems to absent herself from anything to do with his upbringing. She is the antithesis of his father and seems to be a gentle soul. His father, on the other hand, is a violent man who instills terror in his son and coerces him into keeping the secrets of many of his violent encounters from his mother, whom he would not tell anyway because she has no interest in anything other than her job, her jigsaw puzzles and her animals.
Throughout the book, despite his dysfunctional childhood, Agassi maintains his love and respect for his family and a loyalty to his friends and those that help him. The book is told with such honesty and a touch of humor too which made it hard to put down. It was a book about a personage that I grew up with and yet, it was never boring, never tedious, even though I knew the eventual outcome. For someone new to Agassi it will read like a novel, not an autobiography, like a love story about a boy coming of age.