Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back (Hardcover)
When Josh Hamilton was six-years-old he could throw a baseball FIFTY-MILES-PER-HOUR... when he was eleven-years-old he could throw a baseball SEVENTY-MILES-PER-HOUR... when he was twelve-years-old in Little League in one game he batted five times... and FIVE TIMES HE HIT A HOMERUN... in his senior year in high school... he threw a baseball NINETY-SEVEN-MILES-PER-HOUR... and batted SIX-HUNDRED... upon graduating high school in 1999 Josh was the NUMBER-ONE-DRAFT-CHOICE in the Major Leagues... he signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and received a record *$3,960,000.00 signing bonus... he was the minor league MVP... and consensus choice as the BEST PROSPECT IN BASEBALL...

AND THEN IT ALL WENT WRONG... AND IT WENT WRONG FAST! Josh came from a close knit family in North Carolina and the entire family's life was built around baseball. Josh was the proverbial "ALL-AMERICAN-BOY". He had a dream that he would sign a rich Major League baseball contract and reward his parents for coming to every game he ever played and driving him where ever he needed to go. He said when he signed his dream contract he would pay off all his parents' bills and buy them a house, so they could travel with him all over the United States and see him play. He signed the dream contract... he paid off their bills... they traveled with him to his minor league games. He kissed his Mother on the cheek in front of his teammates before every game. The other players... and then management and ownership... thought it was a little strange having a young ballplayer's parents traveling with him, and made him stay in other lodging. Then Josh started getting a number of injuries, some obvious, some possibly imagined. For the first time in his life he couldn't play baseball, and he was away from his parents.

All of a sudden milk-toast clean Josh showed up with a tattoo... then he decided he wanted five more tattoos. As his injuries mounted he started spending more and more time at the tattoo parlor... with his parents gone... it became his home away from home. "I SAT IN THE CHAIR AND GOT TATTOO AFTER TATTOO. SOME DAYS I'D GET THREE OR FOUR. SOME DAYS I'D SIT IN THAT CHAIR ALL DAY LONG, FEELING THE NEEDLES MARK UP MY BODY." And then the fateful day came when his "friends" asked Josh if he wanted to go out with them that evening. Josh said yes... and his life... his world... and the world of everyone that loved him changed... his life changed from a dream to a nightmare. Their first stop was a strip club... something Josh had never done before... then they ordered some beer... Josh drank one, "something I'd never done before. And then I drank several more." Then they went to one of his "friends" house... "SOMEONE PULLED OUT A MIRROR AND BEGAN TO CUT UP SOME COCAINE. SOMEWHERE INSIDE ME AN ALARM WENT OFF, BUT I IGNORED IT. I ASKED THEM, "WHAT IS IT?" "I KNEW, BUT I'D NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE." "IT'S COCAINE, MAN." "WHAT'S IT MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE?" "IT MAKES YOU FEEL JACKED UP. TRY IT, YOU'LL SEE." "I STARED AT IT. I WAS WEAK. I COULDN'T IMAGINE LETTING THESE GUYS DOWN. THEY HAD BECOME THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MY WORLD. OR MAYBE I JUST DIDN'T CARE. WHATEVER THE CASE, I WAS IN. I LEANED OVER AND INHALED A LINE. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT, BUT BY THE TIME I'D LIFTED MY HEAD UP I KNEW I LIKED IT. THE FOG IN MY BRAIN LIFTED. I HAD ENERGY AND LIFE. I WAS A NEW MAN."

From this point on... this is a book about something much more important than baseball. Josh became lost to the world, and more importantly to himself. He bottomed out to where all addicts either straighten themselves out and give in to a power greater than themselves... or... THEY ALL WIND UP THE SAME... JAILS... INSTITUTIONS... AND DEATH! About fifteen years ago my best friend in the world hung out one night with the wrong crowd... just like Josh did... my best friend made the same decision Josh did... the tale Josh tells when he threw baseball away for a trip to the living hell- on-earth that addicts inhabit is exactly the same road map my best friend took. The fact that Josh started with a $3.96 million dollar contract, and my best friend was just a "working-stiff" made no difference. DRUG HELL IS DRUG HELL!

I congratulate Josh on this book even more than I congratulate him on his comeback to fame and sobriety. I have read many other books by famous ballplayers and entertainers who tell their story of addiction... but literally all of them make the getting high and loaded sound like an exciting orgy of drugs and women... rather than the debauchery of a human soul and the destruction of their loved ones hearts. There is not one segment in Josh's descent into drug addiction that he tries to make glamorous... and for that I applaud him. THE BRUTAL "UNVARNISHED" POWER OF THIS BOOK RESIDES IN ITS UGLY TRUTH... And because of that I recommend this book highly to everyone.
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4.8 out of 5 stars (264 customer reviews)
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Location: Danville, Ca, USA

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