Andre Agassi's "Open" - A Book Recommendation
5 reasons to read this book:
1. Because Andre has angst (he has always hated tennis, since the very beginning - see point 4.) and angst is interesting; and he doesn't skimp on the fast food binging, drug doing, getting love wronging details;
2. Because at heart this is a love story. And Andre, for wife and the school he set up for underprivileged kids, has a hell of a big heart;
3. Because like in any great book (fiction or non) you care about the characters. And really, who gives a crap about a meat-head musclebound trainer named Gil? Me. I fell in love with Andre Agassi's physical trainer the way I fell in love with Lee in "East of Eden" and I bloody loved Lee in "East of Eden." Or in a way, like how you fell in love with Rocky Balboa's couch, Mickey. Hint: it has to do with loyalty;
4. Because Andre's father is your worst nightmare of the athlete parent bastard breed and 'father was a bastard' stories are interesting, especially when Daddy was this callous, asshole, mean, selfish, wrong, complicated. 'Father was a bastard' stories are even better when son of said bastard becomes a world champion tennis player and not a bastard himself; and
5. Because the book is aptly titled. Andre gives every Brooke Shields-doubting-the-marriage (even while making the proposal) details. His gives of all the details, tells the stories you'd want to hear. Anecdotes like this one:
Agassi and his coach, Brad Gilbert, are having dinner at a favourite Italian restaurant after a match. By chance, Pete Sampras and his entourage are also at the restaurant, on the other side. As Pete leaves he comes by to say hi to Andre and Brad. After he goes, Brad tells Andre he'll bet him anything Pete didn't leave more than 5 bucks to the valet parking guy. Andre isn't as keen on finding out but Brad pushes and asks the teenager valet how much Pete gave him. The kid looks down, wants to do the right thing, doesn't want to tell. Brad pushes.
One dollar, the kid says. Pete Sampras gave the kid a dollar.
Commenting on this, Andre says, there is a world of difference between him and Pete.