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Based on a true story ...
on August 10, 2012
The book is written in the first person narrative (comprised of a memoir and a diary entry by Mary Agnes Montier) as Williams takes readers through Taylor's life as he "lived" it. Readers are able to walk, and run, in the same shoes that Taylor did as he grew from a high schooler to a man. This point of view is highly effective because it allows Taylor to be human. Readers are thrust into his mind, into his being and making him sympathetic.
The conversations become real. Taylor's emotions become the reader's emotions making readers become entrenched in the story. It keeps Taylor's life engaging and in turn keeps readers involved through to the end.
However, you have to wonder did Williams take the liberty through some of his dramatization of Taylor to make him much larger than he may appear? One instance was Taylor's venture to Seventh Ward in search for a job. Although it made for a great anecdote in showing the continued growth from Taylor's transition into adulthood, it demonstrated his refusal for sexual release to a whore because of faithfulness Mary Agnes.
The Olympian works on a level I can't comprehend. One part of me wanted to me more of a biography, the meat and potatoes of Taylor's life. Another part of me enjoyed the book because it wasn't that. The book is a clash of two styles, much like Hollywood's take on factual based material like Friday Night Lights or Glory Road. The dramatization makes for good films, and in this case a very good story, but how true doesn't it stay to, well, the facts?