- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 50 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Audible.com Release Date: October 4, 2006
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000JGWCJW
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Audiobook – Unabridged
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The book pretty much alternates chapters which retell Mr. Oher's saga growing up as an underprivileged child in the worst parts of Memphis and getting adopted by a well-to-do family with chapters about the changes that have occured in the way NFL football has been played over the past 30 or so years. There are anecdotes from Bill Parcells and other football notables as well as discussions with the people in Mr. Oher's life.
While being a football fan definitely helps your enjoyment of this book - if you really don't like football at all you might just want to watch the movie which I also highly recommend - it's not totally necessary. Unlike many books centered around sporting events or figures, this one leaves a lot of the jargon at home (probably because the author, Michael Lewis, is not a football person) and tells of the evolution of modern football, including the changes that free agency brought, while at the same time telling a heart-wrenching story about a young man who - in spite of the odds - found love and family and made himself a success.
I've read a lot of books that were turned into movies and they usually disappoint. My general rule is - either the book or the movie. This book - and this movie - are definitely the exceptions to the rule. As I said, if you don't like football at all skip the movie. But, if you like it - even just watching a game on Thanksgiving, or going to cheer for your local high school team once a season - pick up The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. I know you'll enjoy it.
The only hesitation I have about the book is that I think it purports to be about Michael Oher, the high school and college phenom left tackle. In a lot of ways it is, but only to the extent that Lewis wanted to tell Oher's story. On the other hand, however, what Lewis is really exploring in this book is why and how a rich, white couple (Sean and Leigh Ann Tuoy) from one of the most segregated cities in America (Memphis) would become invested in young black kid who is ironically simultaneously almost impossible to notice and impossible to ignore.
In some ways, I think Lewis is interested in the Tuoys' investment in Michael as a person as is contrasted against the system's (Briarcrest High School Athletics Dept, Ole Miss University, and every other major college football program in the country, and the NFL). Everybody seems to want something from him, and that thing is immediately apparent and almost assured. But the Tuoy's were invested in him long before they realized just how good a player he was. In that sense, his incredible success seems to make their investment both charming and sincere.
Tough to admit (and Lewis doesn't address this at all, really) that I wouldn't have been interested in reading about the Tuoy's charity or Oher's luck had it not been for his incredible physical gifts. Maybe that's the real lesson of the book.