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Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball Hardcover – March 29, 2012
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About the Author
R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets is one of the premier pitchers in baseball. In 2012 he became the first knuckleballer to win the National League Cy Young Award, major league baseball’s highest honor for a pitcher. Immensely popular with fans and deeply respected by his teammates, Dickey lives in Tennessee with his wife and four children.
Wayne Coffey is an award-winning journalist for the New York Daily News and the author of more than thirty books, including The Boys of Winter, a New York Times bestselling chronicle of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. A three-time Pulitzer nominee, he has long been regarded as one of best sports feature writers in the nation.
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But this book isn't intended to flaunt his eloquence or his reading list, he's not interested in showing the reader how smart he is. This is the most mature, soul-baring autobiography/memoir by an athlete I've ever read, perhaps one of the most open and honest by any writer, athlete or not. Dickey allows himself to open up about situations in which he was pained and vulnerable, admits horrible mistakes, questions his own judgment, and demonstrates that he fully understands how imperfect he is and how he works every day to improve himself in every aspect of his life. Being that he makes a living at something more characterized by braggadocio, privilege and an enormously inflated sense of self-importance, his perspective and self-awareness are beyond refreshing, they're uplifting. He is a deeply religious man, but he has been humbled too many times to be at all self-righteous. I'm not giving the book 5 stars because it's the greatest book ever written, not saying he's Dostoyevsky or something, but for its particular niche, it's amazing.
Heck, I'd even recommend this book to Yankees and Phillies fans. The ones who can read, that is :-)
'Wherever I Wind Up' is an unbelievably frank tale of the human experience, one that anyone familiar with any/all of the demons R.A. Dickey encountered would find both cathartic and motivational. Amazingly and simultaneously, it stands on equal footing as a wonderful glimpse into a journeyman's trials and tribulations toward the game's sacred cow pitch and accompanying fraternity.
This duality is not surprising. I found this book arguably the best written of its autobiographical, sports kind in years, a precise and poignant account of a life journey simply impossible to put down. I'm not sure where Dickey ends and Coffey begins...or vice-versa...but clearly this marriage works. Other reviewers criticized the book for its brevity; I instead found its Hemingway-esque ability to capture thousands of potential pages within approximately 350 yeoman's work.
For the feint of heart, be warned: Dickey doesn't mince words. He presents every foible of his life like an open wound, shamed by his successes, self-critical of his failures. He captures the mental anguish and outcomes of abuse in the brutal frankness for which they reside, detailing how even an exceptional athlete cannot escape their personal and professional consequences.
Moreover, Dickey's compass is his religion; non-Christians (commented in other reviews) may find his commitment path too rigid and/or expressed. Still - and akin to Orel Hershiser's book Out of the Blue., one man's Christianity can be another's rock-solid foundation of another religious or ideological-based kind.
When Dickey delves into baseball, he does so wonderfully. His descriptions of the minor league experience, fraternity of knucklers, glimpses into personalities he played with...are all beautiful candelabras of baseball light. Again, he and Coffey capture the game to perfection.
In closing, I finished 'Wherever I Wind Up' amazed at the elite pitcher this tortured and reborn person has become. Dickey;s perseverance is borderline incredulous, his willingness to share his story brave and then some. For fans of baseball fighting abuse demons, I would arguably (and delicately) consider this book prescriptive.