Customer Review

38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Feature Article Stretched into a Book, May 22, 2009
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This review is from: A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez (Hardcover)
This book, if it were to be written at all, would have been far better in someone else's hands. Selena Roberts' treatment of Alex Rodriguez is superficial at best and biased at worst.

If you dislike the Yankees or dislike players that sign long-term contracts for great sums of money, then you'll probably enjoy this book. If you're fairly neutral on both fronts (as I am), then this book won't cast a very long shadow upon your life.

There are two main problems with the book. First, it's abundantly clear that Selena Roberts personally dislikes Alex Rodriguez. She's certainly entitled to feel this way, but this should not come through in a book that is supposed to be the product of serious journalism. Second (and this is connected with the first) Rodriguez's use of steroids is this book's raison d'etre. It's as though Roberts said to herself, "Yes! We caught him using banned substances, now I can write that book."

The rather superficial picture of Rodriguez we get is of a guy who will do anything to win, including making use of stolen signs and performance enhancing drugs. Why does he do this? Roberts lacks the gravitas to tell us. Rodriguez's dad left when he was 10 years old and he was understandably affected by this. But beyond needing approval from others and missing his dad while growing up, how exactly did it affect him? We're never told. Roberts' failure in this regard shouldn't come as a surprise. Her bibliography is mostly composed of magazine and newspaper articles with comparatively few interviews.

Nearly everything in the book is told through the prism of Rodriguez's use of steroids or is only mentioned because it relates directly to steroids. For instance, we're told of Rodriguez's strong desire to win a championship and almost obsessive work habits. Yet when the subject of the 2004 ALCS arises---the closet Rodriguez ever got to the World Series---we're given a total of about two paragraphs. Wait a minute. How did he feel about the Yankees' historic collapse? What about his individual performance? Surely this must have made a deep impression on him. But Roberts doesn't see fit to probe such a significant moment any deeper, even though this book only happens to be a biography of the man.

If you've followed the major events in Rodriguez's career up to this point you're not going to learn anything new or interesting from Roberts' book. What she's given us is nothing more than a drawn out and forgettable feature article.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 27, 2011 1:15:17 AM PDT
Henry Mena says:
Nice job, MW. Ms. Roberts should take a writing workshop from you.
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