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Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life Paperback – May 13, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Blake is a champion—in every sense of the word.” (Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue)
“I’ve known James since early childhood...James’s rise to international success is as stunning as it was predictable.” (John Mayer)
“Through Blake’s commitment and passion, he tells the story of the life lessons he learned while facing difficult personal challenges.” (—Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, wife of the late Arthur Ashe)
“[James Blake] has inspired young people everywhere with his story of courage and determination.” (—former president George H.W. Bush)
Top Customer Reviews
So often in life, good things bloom from the seeds of hardship. Breaking Back by James Blake is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming story about how life's trials shaped the character of a remarkable young man. The wisdom of Thomas Blake and his son James' self-reflection reminded me of the relationship the great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had with his father Joshua. The wisdom and friendship of Blake's philosopher-coach Brian Barker reminded me of the relationship John Wooden had with his players. The dedicated, supporting and steady presence of James' mother Betty Blake is a subtle theme throughout the book. I also loved Blake's affection for his friends and how they rallied around him in his time of need. When my wife had cancer, we experienced first hand how much the support of family and friends can help you make it through difficult seasons in life. I attribute my wife's recovery in part to the support we received just as James credits his friends and family for helping him through the difficult times he has faced.Read more ›
It seems the book was written to capitalize on James' successes in the 20005/2006 season, when he came to proeminence mainly due to the great match against Agassi in the 2005 US Open. That year, his rowdy and supportive organized fans called "The J-Block" began to be noticed also. Suddenly, James was being called to interviews with Oprah, Letterman, everybody, when it became known aout his problmes, be it: death of his father due to stomach cancer; an impact against a net pole in Rome which could have made him paralysed and an attack of herpes zoster.
Well, I knew about it before buying the book, and in no way I was going to read it to be upflifted by his will power or whatever. Don't need that. All the things he have passed, a lot of people have suffered or worse (mainly, unfortunately, the loss of a family member to cancer - including myself). Also, situations that may threaten a career. I bought the book to read about tennis and tennis life on the Tour and also, of course, because Blake's style of playing was fantastic in my opinion: aggressive, straight shots, big serve, one-hand backhand.
But here was so little of it. Blake claims that the suffering made himn realize how he was fortunate to be a professional tennis player, because the players live ina bubble and don't know about the reality of it. But this is not very clear in the book. In no way it seems that James was "lost" personally. On the contrary, he says over and over again that his parents always put things in perspective, including how study wa so important (James went to college befeore turning pro).
Maybe he did not want to bore readers with descriptions after descriptions of countless tennis matches but, after the zoster thing, the book seems to be an endless "thanks" to his friends, to the point of becoming repetitive.
Generally, when I read books of this kind, I cannot help feeling that the athlete is sharing only what the public expects, holding back facts that they may consider a little embarrassing. We usually see somebody struggling, but that also has a kind of bravado to face the situation. This could not be further from the truth in this case though. I felt that James is not holding anything back and is spilling his guts trying to get us to understand every detail of his struggle. Andrew Friedman definitely helps, displaying a proficient writing style and not letting the book get boring at any point.
Besides containing a fair amount of personal aspects related to the fight against adversity and the importance of friendship, this book has some very interesting insights into the mind of a tennis player. Blake shares with us the process by which he became a professional tennis player, but also what goes through the mind of a pro during a match and at the end of the year when it is time to take stock. There are many snippets of information about players on the tour and these keep us engaged and at times help lighten up the mood.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most inspiring comeback stories you will ever read, James Blake will always be one of my favorite tennis players. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Kevin S
I teach tennis for a living and as such have read a lot of (auto)biographies. This one is one of my all time favorites. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cristopher Perkins
"Breaking Back" details James Blake's devastating losses and his trials overcoming them. The writing is clear and concise, filled with details; the pictures in the center... Read morePublished 14 months ago by ace1339
This story is inspiring in how he overcame tremendous obstacles in order to challenge some of the best tennis players of our eraPublished on June 17, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Interesting story about an inspiring person who came back from adversity. I also play tennis and have seen him play.Published on November 15, 2013 by Kathy Lieberman
The entire story revolves around the theme of resilience, and persevering against all odds. James Blake was unlike most tennis stars. Read morePublished on November 13, 2013 by sanjay s chandragiri
Breaking Back Review
In this autobiography of the famous American tennis player, James Blake, we see a man go through countless struggles, and he is still able to bounce... Read more