Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: The Blind Side

Picked this baby up in hardcover at Half Price Books for $6. List is $25. Does that make them Quarter Price Books?

I had bought this new when it came out in 2006 and gave it as a gift to a friend, hoping it would be read and then duly returned to me. Never happened. Ironically, the same friend introduced me to the debut work of Michael Lewis, the terrific Liars Poker, way back in the late 1980's. Back then it was declared that anyone with an interest in Wall Street needed to read Liars Poker and Barbarians at the Gate. I think that may still be true. Both are excellent.

In between I tried to read Lewis's Moneyball but found it impossible. I love baseball but all this praise for the Oakland A's was too much. They never won bupkis while he was there. A couple of Division crowns in the AL West do not mean squat. And a team that fielded McGwire and Canseco should have been kicked out of baseball, even if that was before Beane's time. Guilty by association.

A few months ago, we came across The Blind Side on TV and found the movie very enjoyable. Only a misanthropic curmudgeon wouldn't. And so when I spied the book in HPB, I slapped down my $6 (plus sales tax, 8.25% here in Tejas - I don't shirk my fiduciary responsibility to Austin).

Here my review: the movie is better. I know, I know, the book is always supposed to superior to any film rendition. But just like Jaws, Michael Oher is bigger and better on the screen. Every now and then the flakes in Hollywood get it right. Not that the book is bad - it isn't. I love the parts about Lawrence Taylor. I mean there is a player I can tell my grand kids about - the football part, not the ugly post-retirement LT that one day soon will likely make the Michael Jackson / Whitney Houston kind of headlines. LT was a monster on the field and simply a game changer as offences tried to account for his pass rush. Kind of odd (a juxtaposition, even) that he had a stable childhood and is now wheels off, whereas Michael Oher had an awful youth (until he met the Touhey's) but is now a stalwart of the community.

In short if you see the book for $6 or less, get it.

Otherwise, the movie is on TV every now and then.

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