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Open: An Autobiography Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 9, 2009
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“Insightful [and] exceedingly well-written . . . [Open] has the cadence and plotting of a good novel . . . The raw energy and emotion throughout are pure Agassi.”
-Newsday Top 10 Books of 2009
“Surprisingly candid . . . The baseline bad boy serves up his harrowing anecdotes with the same force he put behind every on-court ace.”
-Entertainment Weekly 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2009
“Bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily, Agassi’s is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete.”
-The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2009
“Andre Agassi’s memoir is just as entrancing as his tennis game . . . By sharing an unvarnished, at times inspiring story in an arresting, muscular style, Agassi may have just penned one of the best sports autobiographies of all time. Check—it’s one of the better memoirs out there, period.”
-Sean Gregory, Time
“Not just a first-rate sports memoir but a genuine bildungsroman, darkly funny yet also anguished and soulful. It confirms what Agassi’s admirers sensed from the outset, that this showboat . . . was not clamoring for attention but rather conducting a struggle to wrest some semblance of selfhood from the sport that threatened to devour him.”
-Sam Tanenhaus, The New York Times Book Review
“A remarkable and quite unexpected volume, one that sails well past its homiletic genre into the realm of literature, a memoir whose success clearly owes not a little to a reader’s surprise in discovering that a celebrity one may have presumed to know on the basis of that haircut and a few television commercials hawking cameras via the slogan ‘image is everything’ emerges as a man of parts—self-aware, black-humored, eloquent.”
-Michael Kimmelman, The New York Review of Books
“[A] heartfelt memoir . . . Agassi’s style is open, all right, and his book, like so many of his tennis games, is a clear winner.”
-O, The Oprah Magazine
“Open describes [Agassi’s] personal odyssey with brio and unvarnished candor . . . His career-comeback tale is inspiring but even more so is another Open storyline. It could be called: The punk grows up . . . Countless athletes start charitable foundations, but frequently the organizations are just tax shelters or PR stunts. For Mr. Agassi helping others has instead become his life’s calling . . . Open is a superb memoir, but it hardly closes the books on an extraordinary life.”
-Jay Winik, The Wall Street Journal
“It’s both astonishing and a pleasure to report that Andre Agassi . . . has produced an honest, substantive, insightful autobiography . . . The bulk of this extraordinary book vividly recounts a lost childhood, a Dickensian adolescence, and a chaotic struggle in adulthood to establish an identity . . . While not without excitement, Agassi’s comeback to No. 1 is less uplifting than his sheer survival, his emotional resilience, and his good humor in the face of the luckless cards he was often dealt.”
-Michael Mewshaw, Washington Post
“Honest in a way that such books seldom are . . . An uncommonly well-written sports memoir.”
-Charles McGrath, The New York Times
“Probably the most candid sports autobiography ever written . . . A remarkably real, tell-it-like-it-is, record-breaking read.”
-Nancy Isenberg, The [Baton Rouge] Advocate
“Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversity . . . His tale shows that success is measured both on and off the court.”
-Doree Shafrir, New York Post
“Refreshingly candid . . . This lively, revealing, and entertaining book is certain to roil the tennis world and make a big splash beyond.”
“Enigmatic tennis great Agassi lays it all on the line . . . Agassi’s photographic recall of pivotal matches evokes the raw intensity of watching them from the stands. Lovers of the sport will also appreciate this window into the mind of a champion . . . An ace of a tale about how one man found his game.”
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, this is certainly not that book. "Open" is a journey that I predict will stay with you for a very long time. It's a completely unexpected trip to places you've never been. I'm not one of those quasi-professional reviewers you see on Amazon. But this book practically made me write about it.
Interestingly, Open starts not at the beginning and not quite at the end. Second round, US Open, 2006.
Not the final match of Andre's career--but the one right before that.
Against a competitor you'd never heard of before or since.
The battle was against the guy across the net, and also Andre's hatred of tennis, his failing body, the demons that he harnessed to get through the unending heroic contest that seemed destined to continue until both just fell into a heap on the court. And it is so well told.
After 20 pages, I knew that this was unlike any other biography I had ever read. Couldn't put it down. Couldn't stop thinking about it. Agassi dug deeper inside than most of us ever will have to, to get to core of what made him so powerful as a player and so conflicted as a person. It is all conspicuously real: The small moments, the outlandish triumphs and the friendships that sustained him and/or corrupted him. The gauntlet he had to run through to arrive at the balance and joy he has today. It's transformative.
The headlines about this book have mostly related to Andre's drug use when he was at his lowest. But honestly, although it marked the place from which he recovered and flourished, it's only an incidental part of this story. The story is actually about perseverance, intelligence and raw talent all baked together into a very, very large American life.
If Open doesn't win a Pulitzer Prize, something is terribly wrong. Can I nominate it?
Andre tells us that he started playing tennis at the age of 3 and by the age of 5 he was showing an aptitude for the game. He was pushed by his father-an obsessive man who pushed his son too far and too much. In fact his father felt that education was not necessary and a hindrance to his tennis practice. Andre could never tell his father how much he hated the game because it was Andre's responsibility to help his family, and that is what he did. He left school in the ninth grade, something that has bothered him his entire career. His goal was to achieve in tennis. He was enrolled in the Bollettien tennis camp, but it felt more like a prison than a camp. The academy, in Agassi's words, was "Lord of the Flies with forehands." In retaliation Andre started wearing earrings, grew his hair long and wore loud clothes. Thus his reputation was born. As his career started to flourish, Andre, tried to keep it all together. He was known as the flamboyant player, the real player. He played the best tennis players in the world, and he was one of the best. He had an eye for the ball, and the 'tell' of players when they were about to hit the big one.
Andre Agassi talks about his rivals, the ones who were boring, the ones who kept it all together and the the real players; Pete Sampras, Boris Becker and Jimmy Connors The book is at its best when the game of tennis is being discussed. Each play during the tournaments and how he figured out how to win. He talks of his marriage to Brooke Shields, he never really wanted to be married, just like he never really liked to play tennis. His crystal meth years, the spiel he gave the Tennis Association when he tested positive for drugs. He finally met and married Steffi Graf and found the happiness that had so long eluded him.
He has built a life and a foundation that sponsors a charter school. He gave the first graduation speech and wowed the crowd. A ninth grade drop-out he has achieved success and fame. He has found his life and he has become Open. For anyone who loves tennis, this is a book that will be a fascinating look at the life of a giant in the tennis world and told in words that best describes him. He finally lives down his famous words 'Image Is Everything'.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 11-09-09
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