Book Review: I Beat the Odds

February 15, 2012


Well, it looks like I have been doing good this month, even though there was a large gap last month due to server stability issues. Thankfully, the server has stayed active for days now, so that should be out of the clear. Today, I will be reviewing a book I found out about last weekend, which is called I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher.

The book is about Michael Oher's life and the struggles he faced before he became a professional football player. It starts from his life in the ghetto and ends sometime around the time he got drafted to the Baltimore Ravens.

I first heard about Michael Oher from watching The Blindside. I did not go see the movie because I was interested in football. Besides, I do not really enjoy watching sports. It probably was not one on top of my list to see in theaters. I did like that it had something movies and television shows tend to lack these days, which is a story. Because of that, I was kind of interested in reading about the events from Michael Oher's perspective.

As somebody who does not enjoy watching sports, I really enjoyed this book. the narrative provided by Michael Oher held interest the entire way through the book. I even enjoyed his comments about the movie that was about him. After all, most people should know by now, at least those of my generation and older, that movies that are based on a true story are not entirely factual. It does not change the fact that the movie is better than most being produced today. I even liked how Michael Oher repeated throughout the book that both the effort he put forth and the kindness of other people helped him get where he wanted to be. In this instance, it is kind of how god is with us. I know I have bagged on science and people who believe in science on a number posts, but I will not use them entirely right here. Many Christians believe that we can do whatever we want and Jesus will ultimately save us, if we rely entirely on his grace. Other religions, and even scientists, believe that salvation can only be achieved through our work alone and just ignore the blessings from god. My church, on the other hand, says if we believe in god and do everything within our ability, even seek redemption from our mistakes, we will obtain salvation. Michael Oher's story is a testament of that philosophy. I also liked how he showed that assumptions about the reasons for some behaviors and habits can be wrong, as the people that dealt him in foster care thought he had anger issues. It was also nice that Michael Oher came across as humble throughout the entire book, which is not something a whole lot of athletes or celebrities can have attached to them. Michael held my attention and he even discussed the facts of life, as well as never completely relied on others.

While I did enjoy this book, there was one thing that I did not like. However, it did not diminish the quality of the book at all, since it was just a minor annoyance. That annoyance was the fact that the end was pretty much an advertisement for organizations that help kids in foster care. Michael did share his problems with such systems in his life and stated that other kids went through those same problems, but I did not feel like it belonged in the book. After all, this was supposed to be on Michael Oher's life. As I said, it does not diminish the quality, but it was definitely unnecessary. It would have been nice if Michael Oher just put in the book a way to contact him or anybody else that was dealing with helping children in the foster care system. However, since Michael is busy with football and other things, I can see why he would like to include such information in his autobiography. The only bad part was the unnecessary information provided at the end of the book, but it was not bad enough to lower the quality.

Overall, there is nothing that makes this a horrible book. I would recommend those who enjoyed The Blindside movie to read this, as well as anyone that wants a story of effort ultimately paying off in the end. The are a few things that would interest sports fans, but I do not really see anything that will entice those people, since this just an autobiography of how a man achieved what he wanted in his life.

What did you think of I Beat the Odds? Do you agree or disagree with me? Feel free to comment.

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