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The Whore of Akron Paperback – November 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062066366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062066367
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A powerful storyteller in full command of his game...wonderfully immoderate.” (New York Times)

“There is more passion, anger and sublime writing in Scott Raab’s The Whore of Akron than any 50 other books you’ll read this (or any other year) combined.” (New York Post)

“The book is both poem and polemic, a lyrical inventory of rage and appetite and loss.” (Jeff MacGregor, ESPN.com )

“[A] pleasure to read. Raab is an inspired, energetic writer. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a poignant exploration of sports fandom. It’s insane. . . . . And it’s also redeeming. . . . . After reading The Whore of Akron, you’ll be hard pressed to think sports don’t matter.” (Time)

“[The Whore of Akron] is very funny. It is also wise...If you’ve a taste for the sort of overstatement Raab shares with the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, this is perhaps the sports book for you. Keep it on a shelf the kids can’t reach.” (NPR)

“A (very heated) Fan’s Notes. . . . . Rollicking and profane. . . . . Raab’s sustained attack on James is diverting, [but] it is the author’s self-portrait of a man and a fan of serious extremes, one who loves his wife and son as fiercely as he hates most of the rest of the world, that engrosses.” (Sports Illustrated)

“[A] splenetic wonder…For all of its rousing, air-clearing invective, The Whore of Akron is strangely celebratory, making a particuclarly Jewish-American case for family and place, and for waiting and hoping past the point of reason.” (Will Blythe, New York Magazine)

“In pursuing James pre- and post-‘Decision’ . . . . the author never does complete the subtitle’s mission to find James’ soul. Instead, Raab . . . . discovers his own. And, in some twisted sense, maybe ours, too.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The Whore of Akron is hilarious, heartfelt and wincingly honest. This is the best kind of book, one that surprises.” (Buzz Bissinger )

“With all due respect to Frederick Exley, Scott Raab has just written the smartest, funniest, most passionate, loving, hateful, bathetic, honest, and deeply personal sports jeremiad slash memoir of our time…The Whore of Akron is about a basketball player the way Moby-Dick is about a whale.” (Stefan Fatsis, author of Wordfreak and A Few Seconds of Panic)

“Mr. Raab sure-footedly turns his monolithic hatred for Mr. James and devotion to Cleveland into a vehicle for exploring his struggles with drugs and alcohol, the mental illness and abandonment that have haunted his family, questions of faith and Jewish identity and the joy of fatherhood.” (Wall Street Journal)

The Whore of Akron isn’t really about basketball. It’s about addiction and sobriety, marriage and divorce, childhood and parenthood, loyalty and autonomy.” (The Awl.com)

“A searing manifesto that is impressively pointed and, in the end, even feels fair—not balanced, of course, but justified. . . . . Whether you’re convinced [of LeBron’s treachery] depends not on whether you care about Cleveland sports, but if you care about sports at all. . . . . Hilarious invective and smart commentary.” (Fortune)

“Hilarious.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“A hilarious and profane love letter to fandom, faith, loyalty, and sports in America.” (Parade)

“Genius. . . . . Raab is Hunter S. Thompson, Wolfe, and Breslin; every bit as messed up, alienated, angry, bitchy, cruel, and angelic. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a masterpiece.” (Dan Klores, Huffington Post )

“A modern-day Portnoy’s Complaint. Standing in for the piece of liver is LeBron James.” (Slate)

“As far as I know, a LeBron James is a hat worn by men in the 1920s.” (Philip Roth)

“Indelicate and unhinged...The Whore of Akron soars because Raab is unflinchingly honest, naked with emotions and embarrassments most of us keep penned inside.....at its heart, this is a book about loyalty, and why attachments count. Basketball could use a little more of Raab’s disorderly passion.” (Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal)

The Whore of Akron reads like Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes on brown acid. Raab is a bastard, but he’s a funny bastard.” (The Onion)

From the Back Cover

"If there was an opportunity for me to return to Cleveland and those fans welcomed me back, that'd be a great story."—Lebron James

Scott Raab is a last vestige of Gonzo Journalism in an era when sanitary decorum reigns. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, Raab has chronicled—at GQ and Esquire—everything from nights out with the likes of Tupac and Mickey Rourke to a moral investigation into Holocaust death-camp guard Ivan the Terrible to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, but the book you hold in your hands is neither a story nor a job: The Whore of Akron is the product of lifelong suffering, and a mission bound with the meaning of existence.

Raab sat in the lower bowl of Cleveland Stadium on December 27, 1964, when the Browns defeated the Colts for the NFL World Championship—the last sports title the declining city has won. He still carries his ticket stub wherever he goes, safely tucked within a Ziploc bag. The glory of that triumph is an easy thing to forget—each generation born in Cleveland is another generation removed from that victory; an entire fan base "whose daily bread has forever tasted of ash."

LeBron James was supposed to change all that. A native son of Akron, he was already world famous by the age of seventeen, had already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, was already worth $90 million to Nike. He seemed like a miracle heaven-sent by God to transform Cleveland's losing ways. That the Cavaliers drafted him, the hometown prodigy, with the first pick of the 2003 draft, seemed nothing short of destiny. But after seven years—and still no parade down Euclid Avenue—he left. And he left in a way that seemed designed to twist the knife: announcing his move to South Beach on a nationally televised ESPN production with a sly title ("The Decision") that echoed fifty years of Cleveland sports futility.

Out of James's treachery grew a monster. Raab, a fifty-nine-year-old, 350-pound, Jewish Santa Claus with a Chief Wahoo tattoo, would bear witness to LeBron's every move, and in doing so would act as the eyes and ears of Cleveland itself. (He did not keep this intentions a secret and was promptly banned by the Miami Heat.)

The Whore of Akron is an indictment of a traitorous athlete and the story of Raab's hilarious, profane (and profound) quest to reveal the "wee jewel-box" of LeBron James's very soul.


More About the Author

Scott Raab, a Writer-at-Large for Esquire since 1997, is a graduate of Cleveland State University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His work has been widely anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing, among others. Born and bred in Cleveland, he now lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

Customer Reviews

If you call yourself a sports fan, you must read this book.
twin one
My wife gave the book to me for Christmas and I enjoyed reading it very much.
Zoarch
Raab's writing is deft but he is consistent throughout the book.
Matt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Christine L. on November 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been waiting for this book for months and was not disappointed. Mr. Raab's writing style is funny, clever, self deprecating and on the money. He accurately portrays what it is like to be a Clevelander and how, even if we may leave Ohio, being from Cleveland is who we are down to our soul, and always will be. I think the way he describes his feelings and views about what it's like to be a Clevelander is just as important to this book as any of the LeBron stuff. I found myself agreeing with everything he said and even wrote down some quotes that really struck a cord with me. As for the LeBron stuff, I think he was again on the money. No where did Mr. Raab disregard LeBron's athletic skills, he freely admits LBJ is one of the best, if not the best, basketball player he has ever seen. I think the important thing to take from this book is that being a remarkable athlete doesn't make you a good human being. LeBron can score 80 points a game, win every MVP title, win multiple rings and it still won't make him a person with good character and morals. LeBron being from the Cleveland area and coming to our Cavs to ideally bring us our first championship in generations was the stuff movies are made of. Hometown boy becomes hero, immortalized forever as the one who broke the "curse", he understands our torment, he IS us. You couldn't write a better script. Then he did the unthinkable and did it in such a cruel, heartless way that it stunned us. No way could OUR hero, our native son turn his back on us in such a way, it's just not possible... I think Mr. Raab truly captures how we felt and yes, still feel to this day. I'm thankful that Mr Raab wrote this book and gave all of us in the Cleveland area a voice. Highly recommend, just not to Ohio people, but anyone who wants a funny, introspective and interesting read.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By MrD on December 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this through the Android market on my tab, and was pretty excited about reading it. Being both a sports nut and a LeBron hater, this seemed to be right up my alley.

However, it wasn't what I expected (or hoped) it would be. Scott Raab, the author, should instead have named it "Fat Jewish Guy, featuring LeBron James." The reason I say this, is because he never misses an opportunity to remind the reader that he is, indeed, fat and Jewish. He constantly mentions these things so often it actually becomes pretty annoying. A large portion of the book seems to cover exactly that subject throughout. Frankly, who cares? Not me, but thanks for the info and incessant reminders, Mr. Raab. Oh, but he also mentions LeBron James occasionally, too.

I did enjoy some aspects of it. I liked reading some of the 'behind-the-scenes' encounters with athletes, owners, etc. Of course, I enjoyed the LeBron-bashing as well but, as another reviewer stated, the book is less about LeBron and more about Cleveland and its long-suffering sports fans.

While entertaining in some aspects, and despite Raab's constant vulgarity -- seemingly with a great effort to actually BE as vulgar as possible -- this book was a very big disappointment. I don't care about how much the author weighs, I don't care how his wife gives him tugs when he's down (His son must really enjoy reading about these little stories, by the way -- Nice work there too, Mr. Raab) and I certainly don't care to hear these things over and over and over -- and then over again.

Take my thoughts here with a grain of salt, as I know many others have enjoyed this one thoroughly, but as for me, I feel like I wasted my money, and the author wasted my time.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By twin one on November 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you call yourself a sports fan, you must read this book. Scott Raab describes perfectly how it feels to be a true fan....the love, the longing and the heartbreak of (almost) every season....It is a passionate and laugh-out loud funny book. After reading The Whore of Akron, I might even start rooting for Cleveland!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steve P on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you think you are getting some sort of insight of "The Decision" or insider info on LeBron James then you should re-read the description. This book perfectly describes what it's like to grow up a rabid Cleveland fan. Scott Raab is the voice of an entire city and comically tells the story of the pain and disappointment of not just one, but many generations of Cavs, Browns, and Indians fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Baruch on August 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my father who has been watching Cleveland sports teams (on TV) for most of his 85 years. Of course, he has long since given up hope. But still he watches. I'll admit that my dad didn't love this book - said it was too raunchy for his taste. Me? His sophisticated daughter? I LOVED IT! Sure, I used to root for the Browns back in the day. And, full disclosure, I left Cleveland after graduating from Heights High in 1975. But I never really left, nor did I get far. When I first moved to Rochester NY to work for Kodak in 1979, I actually joined a Browns Backers Club. But they were not exactly my cup of tea. These days my husband and son root for the Buffalo Bills. But since Rochester doesn't have a basketball team, and since we love our winter vacations in Miami, my son chose The Heat as his team. Me? I'm a LeBron fan all the way. The man is magnificent on the court. I simply love to watch him play - Decision or no Decision. So when my dad handed this book back to me, I took it with mixed emotions. Could I admire LeBron and still enjoy Mr. Raab's rantings? The answer is a resounding YES! Scott Raab is hilarious. He shows so much honesty and heart. He's exactly the kind of writer and person I love. Reading The Whore of Akron was like being home in Cleveland with my crazy Jewish family. It made me laugh a lot. Oh yes, I LOLed! (Or is it LedOL?) READ THIS BOOK! You'll love him too. (LeBron? Raab? Take your pick!)
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