"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Author Catherine McKenzie Reviews "OPEN" by Andre Agassi

OPEN by Andre Agassi
Publisher: Knopf

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I’ve long been a fan of Agassi’s – I watched his first US Open and his last, and hundreds of matches in between – but I was putting off reading this book. I don’t tend to read autobiographies – it’s rare that I really want to know that many details about someone’s life. But my sister, who lives in Vegas, went to a book signing and bought me a signed copy as a birthday surprise, and since I’d been hearing good things, I started reading it. Three hours later I had to pry the book from my hands so I could go to sleep. It was the same every night until I finished it. And when I did, I turned back to the first page and started again.

By now most of you have heard or read about the revelations the book contains – Agassi hated tennis for most of his career, he began losing his hair young and wore a hair piece, he used meth and lied about it, his marriage to Brooke Shield was unhappy. But for me it wasn’t these revelations that caught and held my attention. Rather, like with any excellent book, it was the way in which he told his story that kept me turning the pages. Not just by being completely open (which he appears to be), but by telling his story with pace and tension and excellent writing. Agassi had a collaborator on this book – he could not have achieved this alone – but nevertheless, one feels his intelligence, his voice, through the pages. He says that as a child English was his favorite subject and I couldn’t help but feel that he could have a second career as a writer if even a 10th of the words in this book are really his. Regardless, it is his story, and it’s a page-turner. Best book I read in 2009.

Reviewed by
Catherine McKenzie
Author of SPIN

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Catherine. I just finished reading 'The Tender Bar' by J.R. Moehringer (Agassi's collaborator on his book) and it was also excellent (also a memoir). Although I could detect the occasional similarity in style overall I felt the voices were very different.


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