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VINE VOICEon March 30, 2012
RA Dickey has co written[along with the wonderful Wayne Coffey] the singular most interesting sports biography in memory.As a group, sports bios are either gushing hagiography or attempts at shocking the reader with "inside" information. Dickey does neither. His titillating confessions are of a more sober, and painful sort.he related growing up poor,in an alcoholic home,one step ahead of the bill collectors[which is a job for vermin,by the way] beaten neglected then abused,sexually, by a woman and a man.he speaks of the deep,rotting shame that this installed in him, of how it colored every decision,every outlook form then on. In between, he seeks his salvation, as it were, in baseball.A star in college drafted by the Rangers,on the cover of Baseball america ,it begins to unravel. He is discovered to have no ulnar nerve in his right arm, and the bonus from Texas drops from 800K to 80K.He bounces literally around the minors, marries his sweetheart ,suffers from guilt and depression, has an affair,finally comes clean to his wife, and is convinced to try a knuckle ball. If anyone's life was meant to be a knuckle ball metaphorically ,it is RA Dickey. Finally he finds success with my beloved NY Mets,his home life is repaired and he even re-establishes a relationship with his estranged, now sober mother. The writing is crisp and at times elegant, something else you rarely find in a jock bio.The news this AM is that the Mets are going to guarantee Dickeys option year through 2013, bringing some stability at last to this baseball nomad.A great read from a good man, with kudos to Wayne Coffey,too. Intelligent,courageous and compassionate. And enjoyable. HUGELY RECOMMENDED!!!!
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on March 30, 2012
Wherever I End Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball is an honest and open look at the life of Robert Allen Dickey, from his childhood through his professional life as a Major League Baseball Player.

Coming from a poor, broken family, R.A. Dickey reveals that he was sexually molested as a child. One individual was a trusted babysitter and the first instance occurs in the sitter's room while Dickey's mother was downstairs.

The description of Dickey's childhood was gut wrenching for me personally. But despite having the odds against him, R.A. Dickey eventually became a major league pitcher. In this book, he shares a lot of sports stories. He talks about having his signing bonus with the Texas Rangers drop down to ten percent of the original offer when it was discovered that Dickey is missing a ligament in his throwing elbow. He talks about his first major league game, where A-Rod winds up throwing the game ball into the stands. He also recalls the meeting where Buck Showalter asked him to reinvent himself as a knuckleball pitcher.

Wherever I End Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball is an inspirational tale of a man's perseverance and finally finding a home with a major league baseball team.
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on June 19, 2012
I've been a New York Mets fan since 1969. I grew up in Queens, NY about a mile from Shea Stadium and attended my first Met game in 1970 when Tommy Agee literally hit the scoreboard with a home run I'll never forget. But even if I weren't a fan of the Mets since childhood, I would be a fan of R.A. Dickey, whose extraordinarily moving and honest and inspiring memoir -- with the brilliant double-entendre title WHEREVER I WIND UP -- simply K's the baffled reader.

The book (co-written with Wayne Coffey) is a mesmerizing and baffling butterfly floater all its own and I simply cannot recommend it and it's author enough. The honesty with which the humble Dickey depicts his own struggles is utterly disarming and to know the painful humblings that he went through to get where he is today -- as of this writing he is the winning-est pitcher in MLB and yesterday threw his second one-hitter of the week (sic) -- makes it hard not to root for him, whether you are a Met fan or aren't.

When the Mets were amazing the world with their sudden ascent in the fall of 1969, they were called the Miracle Mets. It was even said that "God wore a NY Mets uniform." That may not be true, but it's obvious that one of His humble servants does wear one, at least for now. I, for one, am grateful that he does. God bless R.A. Dickey. [...]
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on March 31, 2012
If you're reading these reviews, you probably already know about R. A. Dickey's missing ligament, descent into obscurity, and rise as a knuckleballer pitcher. His perseverance in the face of adversity already seemed admirable, but reading this book makes it monumentally moreso. This is the most genuine and honest book by an athlete that I've ever read, and adds impressively to the author's other achievements. A very worthwhile read that took great bravery to write.
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on April 7, 2012
As a big Mets fan who already thinks that RA Dickey is about the coolest player we've ever had, I eagerly looked forward to this book's release and was not disappointed. He's the rare athlete who sounds as though he'd be just as comfortable discussing Hemingway or Chaucer as he would be discussing getting opposing hitters out.

But this book isn't intended to flaunt his eloquence or his reading list, he's not interested in showing the reader how smart he is. This is the most mature, soul-baring autobiography/memoir by an athlete I've ever read, perhaps one of the most open and honest by any writer, athlete or not. Dickey allows himself to open up about situations in which he was pained and vulnerable, admits horrible mistakes, questions his own judgment, and demonstrates that he fully understands how imperfect he is and how he works every day to improve himself in every aspect of his life. Being that he makes a living at something more characterized by braggadocio, privilege and an enormously inflated sense of self-importance, his perspective and self-awareness are beyond refreshing, they're uplifting. He is a deeply religious man, but he has been humbled too many times to be at all self-righteous. I'm not giving the book 5 stars because it's the greatest book ever written, not saying he's Dostoyevsky or something, but for its particular niche, it's amazing.

Heck, I'd even recommend this book to Yankees and Phillies fans. The ones who can read, that is :-)
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on April 4, 2012
Today's entry is a review of the new book by Mets pitcher R.A Dickey, titled "Wherever I Wind Up." It is Dickey's autobiography, written with Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News. I was sent a copy of this book for review, and so I shall.

This is one of the best baseball books I have read, and I've read a lot. It has a lot to do with Dickey's honesty, and his background as an English lit major at the University of Tennessee. As he says himself, he has a feel for a story, though not so much for grammar: fortunately here he has a co-writer and an editor. The honesty and storytelling make for a compelling read.

The most compelling part is the contrast. If I told you Dickey was a successful pitcher on a multi-year contract, you might not realize how long he has pitched in the minors and what it has taken to finally become a success at age 37. If I told you he was a knuckleball pitcher, you might not realize he was a hard thrower in college and early in his pro career, and a member of the 1996 Olympic team. If I told you he was a graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy, a prestigious private school in Nashville, you might not realize he was a scholarship student from the wrong side of the tracks, who overcame poverty and abuse in his childhood. If I told you he was a committed Christian, you might expect a book full of platitudes instead of a story of a man with faults and failings who had to be honest with himself after an affair nearly ended his marriage.

Dickey is honest here, often brutally so, and it becomes clear that he is not some mild-mannered guy, but a risk-taker, with something of a disregard for his own safety: like the time in Council Bluffs, Iowa, when he decides to swim the Missouri River. He doesn't make it across, and might not have made it out of the river if not for teammate and Australian Grant Balfour. Or when, as a teenager, he took to sleeping in empty houses at night. Or a story not fully told in this book, a trip taken while it was going to press: the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. He's a married man with four kids living a young man's dream.

Dickey is a fascinating individual, and this is a captivating book. Highly recommended.
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on April 10, 2012
After hearing an interview with Mr. Dickey on NPR, I had to read this book. It really & truly moved me. I don't know if this can be so narrowly defined as a sports biography. Mr. Dickey is a basebally player, but this book is about much more than his career or baseball. It's about how someone becomes who they are and how they learn to live with their history. It's beautiful, marvelous and miraculous.
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on April 2, 2012
Since he was first called up to my beloved Mets, in 2010, R.A. Dickey has been the one player I've looked up to both on and off of the field. He is the consummate professional, and a real role model for young players. Aside from that, he has shown us what it takes to be a good husband and father. Reading this book has only increased my admiration for his perseverance, determination, and desire to fulfill his dream, despite unbelievable obstacles. It's not an easy story to read, it's gut-wrenching at times. My emotions ran the gamut, yet in the end, I literally cheered for this man. I've read many baseball bio's over the years, and this is certainly one of the best. I'd recommend it not only to baseball fans, but to anyone who has struggled and needs to be inspired. In my heart of hearts, I believe that this man will finally be the ONE pitcher who pitches the first no-hitter in Mets history. If anyone deserves this honor, R.A. Dickey does.
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on April 6, 2012
I'm a huge Mets fan, and when they signed R.A. Dickey a few years ago my reaction was, like so many others, "great, another journeyman pitcher to fill out the minor league roster." Then, he became one of the best pitchers on the team, which led to newspaper articles about his life and the adversity he has overcome to achieve his late career renaissance.

This book, co-written with extraordinary sports writer Wayne Coffey, is an incredibly well-written account of that life. Dickey, through talent and determination, luck and his faith, overcame many hurdles to finally become a successful major league pitcher, and, it seems, reach some internal peace. Although there is a lot of baseball in the book, it is not only a baseball book, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2012
Before you click that 'unhelpful' vote, please understand the rationale behind the review title.

'Wherever I Wind Up' is an unbelievably frank tale of the human experience, one that anyone familiar with any/all of the demons R.A. Dickey encountered would find both cathartic and motivational. Amazingly and simultaneously, it stands on equal footing as a wonderful glimpse into a journeyman's trials and tribulations toward the game's sacred cow pitch and accompanying fraternity.

This duality is not surprising. I found this book arguably the best written of its autobiographical, sports kind in years, a precise and poignant account of a life journey simply impossible to put down. I'm not sure where Dickey ends and Coffey begins...or vice-versa...but clearly this marriage works. Other reviewers criticized the book for its brevity; I instead found its Hemingway-esque ability to capture thousands of potential pages within approximately 350 yeoman's work.

For the feint of heart, be warned: Dickey doesn't mince words. He presents every foible of his life like an open wound, shamed by his successes, self-critical of his failures. He captures the mental anguish and outcomes of abuse in the brutal frankness for which they reside, detailing how even an exceptional athlete cannot escape their personal and professional consequences.

Moreover, Dickey's compass is his religion; non-Christians (commented in other reviews) may find his commitment path too rigid and/or expressed. Still - and akin to Orel Hershiser's book Out of the Blue., one man's Christianity can be another's rock-solid foundation of another religious or ideological-based kind.

When Dickey delves into baseball, he does so wonderfully. His descriptions of the minor league experience, fraternity of knucklers, glimpses into personalities he played with...are all beautiful candelabras of baseball light. Again, he and Coffey capture the game to perfection.

In closing, I finished 'Wherever I Wind Up' amazed at the elite pitcher this tortured and reborn person has become. Dickey;s perseverance is borderline incredulous, his willingness to share his story brave and then some. For fans of baseball fighting abuse demons, I would arguably (and delicately) consider this book prescriptive.
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