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Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero Hardcover – April 18, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Pearlman, former staff writer with Sports Illustrated and Newsday, delivers a fully realized, if hardly appealing, portrait of baseball slugger Barry Bonds, who has perplexed teammates, fans, and the press for years with sometimes-indifferent play, an almost-joyful cruelty toward seemingly everyone (except kids), and a near-total disregard for the rules of the game, if allegations of his use of performance-enhancing drugs are true. At the same time, Pearlman's Barry Bonds is a man of astonishing talent and, on occasion, humanity. Bonds' career is fully traced here--from his pampered boyhood as the son of another gifted but troubled player (Bobby Bonds) through his successes at Arizona State, through his years as a superstar with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, including his pursuit of Hank Aaron's home-run record. Drug-use allegations aside, it's hard not to boo Barry Bonds for the teammate and man he appears to be, so damning is Pearlman's profile. Yet the reader is always reminded of Bonds' supreme talent. A highly readable companion to Fainaru-Wada and Williams' recent Game of Shadows, which relates in greater detail Bonds' alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for, a former Sports Illustrated senior writer, and the critically acclaimed author of Boys Will Be Boys, The Bad Guys Won!, and Love Me, Hate Me.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060797525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060797522
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for He has worked as as a columnist for and, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a features writer for Newsday and -- amazingly -- as The (Nashville) Tennessean's food and fashion writer. He is the author of two New York Times best-sellers--Boys Will Be Boys, a biography of the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, and The Bad Guys Won, a biography of the 1986 New York Mets. He is also the author of a pair of, ahem, non-New York Times' best-seller, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Anti-Hero, and The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality. Pearlman lives in New York with his wife and two children, and enjoys Kirk Cameron films, T-shirts and the taste of gum.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on May 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If he's not more careful, Jeff Pearlman's going to get a reputation as the Kitty Kelley of baseball. First, the John Rocker interview in "Sports Illustrated". Next, "The Bad Guys Won!" -- a book about the hard-drinkin', coke-snortin' '86 Mets. Now, Barry Bonds is revealed in all his misanthropic, beef 'roid injectin' misery.

I'm not sure if "Love Me, Hate Me" began life as an impartial look at how Bonds' stellar on-field accomplishments redeemed his tumultuous personal life. Somehow, I doubt it. I suspect it was always intended to be a sarcastic look at how one of the most physically talented ballplayers of the last quarter-century managed to trash his public reputation and make exactly zero friends along the way.

Pearlman knows his baseball, and chooses his comparisons with great precision. His writing is crisp and lively, his point never in doubt. For example, he describes Bonds' infamous late-season and playoff slumps by comparison to late 1970s utility infielders -- the kind of references that only a guy in his mid 30s who grew up with shoeboxes full of Topps baseball cards could come up with: Bonds is described, during his slumps, as being: "... as useful to baseball as an autographed Otto Velez jersey". And: "In April and May, he was Willie Mays; in September, he was Tom Veryzer". This book is probably going to drive the average sabermetrician crazy.

In order to get away with a book like this, the author has to do two things right. He has to get his game accounts perfect. How many baseball bios have been trashed by a lack of research into game details? Ken Kaiser's biography, Andre Dawson's biography, Jose Canseco's love letter to steroids, to name three other baseball books I've reviewed.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on July 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is ironically titled because the real Barry Bonds, who you feel like they know after finishing Jeff Pearlman's thrilling biography, is a man one can neither love nor hate. His excellence is tarnished by his personality which is so obviously confused that, despite the brutality with which he treats others, renders one incapable of hating him. Barry Bonds is yet another example of self-esteem having an inverse relationship with success. Had Bonds been a satisfied young man, he would have never expended every particle of his physical and mental energy conquering a craft which would one day make him a national celebrity and a fabulously wealthy person. Bonds's infinitesimal self-doubt caused him to train like, and with, Jerry Rice and even cry on the rare occasion he had to miss a game, but it also alienated almost everyone he came into contact with. He is a petty, abrasive, and irritable man who is entirely devoid of social skills. This reality makes one pity him which is not the reaction one expects to have towards a finger pointing, whining mega-millionaire. When you look at the numbers over the course of his career, it is readily apparent that Bonds really is the Michael Jordan of baseball, and that most of us don't realize it is directly related to the horrendous way with which he interacts with peers, the press, the fans, and your average citizen. I am a fairly hardened person, but I was shocked to read the passages documenting this icon's habit of berating small children who ask for his autograph. He seems to insult and slight others for absolutely no reason whatsoever. As for steroids and BALCO, Pearlman does not hedge on the issue which is quite appropriate considering the evidence.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Francis on August 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The author certainly did his homework by interviewing over 500 people who have had some interaction with Bonds over his life in order to write this book. What was grat about this book was that it wasn't written by Bonds or from the perspective of the author it was more other peoples true experiences about Bonds spun into a book. This was a fresh look at this guy and not written to drag him down or to glorify him, you are left to make your own opinion. I liked it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Weekend Lazy on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book three days and could not put it down. I always thought Bonds was a mysterious cat, but now I feel like I've got a much better understanding of him. The stories in this book had me laughing and crying, especially dating back to his early years with Van Slyke and Doug Drabek with the Pirates. I have nothing bad to say. A great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rudy on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was a baseball writer who covered the minor leagues for many years, and I used to love the great baseball writers of my era. I am largely unfamiliar with this author, but his book is beautifully written, with an impressive attention to detail. I didn't expect a great deal from this book (I reviewed it for my hometown paper), but it's a real gem. It took me inside the world of major league baseball and also inside the mind of a superstar I never truly understood.

I was mostly enamored by Barry Bonds' Pittsburgh years, where he developed into the man he is today. His relations with Jim Leyland (whom I remember from his time with the Tigers in spring training) and Andy Van Slyke (a vastly underrated player of his day) are unqiue and enlightening, as are Bonds' takes on race, class and status. I don't believe any book is a must-read, but this one is pretty dang close.
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