I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond (英語) ハードカバー – 2011/2/8
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The football star made famous in the hit film The Blind Side reflects on how far he has come from the circumstances of his youth.
Michael Oher is the young man at the center of the true story depicted in The Blind Side movie (and book) that swept up awards and accolades. Though the odds were heavily stacked against him, Michael had a burning desire deep within his soul to break out of the Memphis inner-city ghetto and into a world of opportunity. While many people are now familiar with Oher's amazing journey, this is the first time he shares his account of his story in his own words, revealing his thoughts and feelings with details that only he knows, and offering his point of view on how anyone can achieve a better life.
Looking back on how he went from being a homeless child in Memphis to playing in the NFL, Michael talks about the goals he had for himself in order to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family for so long. He recounts poignant stories growing up in the projects and running from child services and foster care over and over again in search of some familiarity. Eventually he grasped onto football as his ticket out of the madness and worked hard to make his dream into a reality. But Oher also knew he would not be successful alone. With his adoptive family, the Touhys, and other influential people in mind, he describes the absolute necessity of seeking out positive role models and good friends who share the same values to achieve one's dreams.
Sharing untold stories of heartache, determination, courage, and love, I Beat the Odds is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man's quest to achieve the American dream.
"I'd understand if some people out there felt like another re-telling of the Oher story was flogging a dead horse, but personally, I feel like there's a need for Oher's own opus."
"In a development I actually think is really great, Michael Oher will be publishing his own memoir now that his parents' story, The Blind Side, has been so thoroughly covered. It's long been my position that some of the uncomfortable things about the way that story gets covered are the simple result of the fact that he hasn't chosen to talk very much -- as this article points out, he contributed little in the way of interviews to either the book or the movie -- and I'll be happy to hear what the guy's got to say."
-Linda Holmes, NPR blogger.
I loved learning about Oher's irritation at certain parts of The Blind Side film's depiction of him. I loved hearing the confidence and awareness in his self-evaluation. He has a remarkably observant estimation of his own gifts and shortcomings that I found inspiring. Some of the reviews I consulted before buying this book said they felt Oher's tone was unappreciative, dismissive, or even snobby. I didn't sense that in any part of the book; in fact, he spends a great deal of time talking about everyone in his life--other children, select teachers, neighbors, social workers, and coaches--who showed him a kindness. He leaves out no one. He stresses the importance of not just the Tuohy family, but each of the others who helped him, fed him, sheltered him, or taught him. How anyone got ingratitude from this book is beyond me. This is a man who knows where he came from, knows what his mistakes were, and knows how hard he worked personally to gain what he's now received. He shows gratitude, but does not spend half the book gushing about how he'd be nothing without this or that person because the simple truth is: there was no way Michael Oher was ever going to allow himself to be "nothing."
You get honest truth in this book about what it felt like to be Michael Oher as a child, how he views the people who formed his childhood now that he's grown up, and what he thinks people who come from a similar background should focus on to achieve their potential. At the end of the book, Mr. Oher talks about the charities he is familiar with himself and offers a long list of ideas about how individuals can make a difference for children in distress. It was wonderful getting to hear the voice of the real Michael Oher, and I highly recommend this for a nice weekend read.
I loved every paragraph of this book, and I couldn't put it down. Well done, Mr. Oher. Very well done, indeed.
Michael Oher may be the most well known offensive lineman in the history of the National Football League after the movie, The Blind Side, based on the best selling book of the same name by Michael Lewis. The Blind Side tells of an inner city Memphis kid who grew up virtually homeless but rose to become the first round pick of the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.
Anyone who read or saw The Blind Side knows the basics of Oher's story. He grew up in drug infested neighborhoods in Memphis with an indifferent mother addicted to crack cocaine, who often left her many kids to fend for themselves and was at times homeless.
Oher grew up often not knowing where his next meal was coming from or even where he would sleep. In an out of foster care, sometimes homeless, always destitute in if not the basics, direction and care, his character and work ethic, along with a lot of help from some very generous people, eventually landed him at a private school in well to do part of Memphis.
The amazing aspect of Oher's success beyond people like the Tuohy family who took him into their home and made him part of their family, is his work ethic and perseverance through severe disadvantages.
Yes, Oher got lucky that there were enough people to help him along the way achieve his dreams. But it takes more than being huge and athletic to take those opportunities and turn them into success. While there are many, many, better off, less disadvantaged athletes that never graduate from college or achieve any level true success in professional sports, Oher graduated and had had success as a pro. Regardless of talent and background, that takes a lot of hard work. And despite the unbelievable disadvantages, Oher took the opportunities in front of him and made a success of his life.
In this book Michael talks about his life growing up, his love for his siblings and his adopted family, the Tuohys, but he also has a message. And that message is to those in similar circumstances not to give up, work hard, and take the opportunities afford and make the best of them. While not all kids in Oher's situation will be quite as lucky, and probably not have quite the perseverance, Oher's success creates a model and gives hope to others.
And another amazing thing about Oher is how self aware he is. He notes that the life of a professional football player is short, so he doesn't live lavishly and plans to save and have a plan for the future. He understands that he doesn't know everything about football and the professional game and understands he has to continue to learn and improve. It's a rather refreshing perspective.
This book is readable, interesting, and while it will not really tell much that is not basically known about Oher's life and success, it is his message of hope and perseverance that makes it a worthwhile read.
This is the incredibly emotional read generating sympathy for what so many of our citizens go through. But to Mike, it was normal so it's really incredible to hear him describe how hard he tried to keep this environment together, as bad as it was, because that's all he knew. It's worth repeating the point that Oher keeps repeating: he was getting out one way or another. I really believe this. Oher seems to have a calm spirit in the way he carries himself making it almost difficult to believe he makes his profession in such a violent sport.
I can't recommend this book higher! You will finish this book feeling like you know Oher personally. And that's a good thing.