19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An unusual, interesting, moving, slice of American life,
This review is from: The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book, read it one sitting, and then read all of the reviews just to justify continuing to think about it. Some of the reviewers didn't rate the book as highly as I did, but I can understand their complaints. The (minor, in my opinion) errors of fact are annoying, but probably only to a pretty serious football fan. And yes, if you consider the title only narrowly, you might be disappointed to find a book that is not just about football strategy and how the game has evolved. But, and I may be stretching a bit here, if you consider the title more metaphorically, there are other "blind sides" and "evolutions" at work here than just right-handed quarterbacks and the role of left-tackles.
I love football and probably have a slightly higher-than-average knowledge of the game (for a chick who was never allowed to play on a real team!) but this book taught me a few things about both the game and the business of football, on the college and professional levels.
Another "blind side" is the view of some serious holes in our society: that such desperate poverty exists alongside such immense wealth; that a child can be lost for YEARS without housing, education, health care, or any measure of security; that most of us really ought to be both more generous and more clear-minded about our responsibilities to each other and our ability to be of use. For me, this book's view of the generous acceptance, and the limits of the generosity and acceptance of a Southern Evangelical Christian community was alone worth the price of admission.
And perhaps "evolution" also includes the gaming of the ridiculous NCAA eligibility/compensation system, the dance of altruism and self-interest among some of the characters, and the growth of the young man at the heart of the story. But maybe I'm over-reaching.
I'm thinking of the old expression "neither flesh nor fowl nor good red herring." This book is like that; it's about a lot of different ideas. I think Michael Lewis does a terrific job of telling the story, without a tidy conclusion and without telling us the motivations of the people involved, instead letting us decide.
Personally, I applaud the Touhy family, here's a quote from the book by the adoptive mother: "I want a building...we're going to open a foundation that's only going to help out kids with athletic ability who don't have the academics to go to college. Screw the NCAA. I don't care what people say. I don't care if they say we're only interested in them because they're good at sports. Sports is all we know about."
If you want just one thing from a book, a football strategy guide, a tale of unlikely success, or a primer on Ole Miss, you might be disappointed. But if you want to take a deeper, closer look at a piece of our society (and you don't think that sports are a waste of time) I think you will be richly rewarded by this book. I was.