Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Recommendation: Open, by Andre Agassi

Open: An Autobiography Open: An Autobiography
by Andre Agassi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since the 1992 Wimbledon, when I bet my husband breakfast in bed that Agassi would win (and yes, I enjoyed my breakfast in bed!), I've been a diehard Agassi fan.

Something about his rebellious ways and appearance, combined with sensitive eyes, wonderful smile, and gentle voice, has always appealed to me.

Open was on my "to read" list after a Goodreads friend highly recommended it. But when my brother- and sister-in-law gave it to us for Christmas, I dove right in. I think they intended it for my tennis fan husband, not knowing that I was an Agassi fan. I couldn't put the book down, much to Mike's surprise. ("I can't believe you're reading a tennis book!")

Many have heard about Agassi's confession that he took crystal meth in the 1990s during a very rough patch. He is unflinchingly honest about a number of topics. He hated tennis but was forced into playing by a dictatorial father. The sport exacted its toll on his body, especially because Agassi suffers from a debilitating spinal condition.

Agassi took his time growing up. He finally realized that he needed to surround himself with people who could help him do that. In spite of dropping out of school in 9th grade, he turned around his own feelings about school and started a foundation and a school to help underprivileged children. Last year they had their first graduating class, and every child graduated and was accepted into college.

It's clear that Agassi wrote this book (with a talented cowriter) as a confessional, to remind people that people shouldn't spend their lives doing what they don't want to do.

He closes the book by saying that he wanted the book to be a gift to his children, because one of his greatest regrets in life is not understanding how important books are.

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