Book Review: Open

by Quinny McKean

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Cover of Agassi's autobiography

Tennis star, Andre Agassi, recently wrote and published a shockingly raw  autobiography entitled Open.  This autobiography walks you through almost every second of his life and career as a popular and skilled tennis player, from birth until retirement.  In it he reveals the lies, deceit, and unknown of his career.  The truth comes to life when Agassi openly admits that in all seriousness, he hates tennis.

Agassi begins with his experiences as a young child, detailing life with an extremely demanding and controlling father.  You immediately become sympathetic as a reader to his restricted childhood.  Agassi writes about how he literally had no choice but to do what he father told him.  He recalls being told, “you will be #1 in the world and that is not negotiable.”  Agassi discusses the rigorous lifestyle of a prodigy training program called the Bolletieri Academy, where he was shipped off at the early age of ten.  This, he explains, was only the beginning.

Agassi then explores the hatred he develops for tennis after so many years of this forced dream.  This hatred led to many rebellious choices involving not only his career, but also his lifestyle.  This, of course, began with his outlandish hair.  One act leads to another, and Agassi later admits in his autobiography that he was once a chronic crystal meth user.  This part of his career was never publically announced, largely because he was able to weave an elaborate lie in which he unknowingly ingested the drug.

Agassi brings his world to life tremendously well in this autobiography, and engages the reader in topics about his life never before disclosed.  He forms an intriguing and suspenseful story that follows his experiences, including his love life and marriage, as well as his persistant struggle to find his true meaning in life.  The reader becomes aware of the significant transformation he undergoes as not only a tennis player, but as a man.

Agassi celebrating victory.

Throughout Open, Agassi convinces us to be on his side, even during his darkest hours.  His ablity to generate sympathy allows us to understand his depression, as well as his attempts to change.  For instance, Agassi has begun to demonstrate great generosity; his strong devotion to his Charter School in Las Vegas is proof of his success as someone who found a path of follow and a goal to pursue.

Open is not only an autobiography, but a ticket into the heart and soul of one of tennis’ most prominant athletes and personalities.  Its voice and honesty make it almost impossible to put down.  If you love tennis, celebrities, or just need a good read, this is definitely a book to pick up.

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