Newest Review: ... McEnroe family were living in New York at the time makes it an especially significant story. We hear so many stories now about what peop... more
Serious: The Autobiography - John McEnroe
Member Name: cyberem78
Serious: The Autobiography - John McEnroe
Date: 14/07/13, updated on 14/07/13 (37 review reads)
Advantages: Welll written. Engrossing.
I'm a big tennis fan and I recently picked up a copy of John McEnroe's 'Serious' after wanting to know more about tennis history. The autobiography was first published in 2002 but is just as readable now. McEnroe is one of the great characters of the tennis world and one that although I was always aware of whilst growing up did not know all that much about. Distorted tabloid stories and endless mimicry of his infamous temper tantrums were all I could associate him with since I was a little too young to remember his most significant achievements in the game during the late seventies and early eighties.
This autobiography is available in both paperback and hardback. I have the hardback version which looks and feels more impressive than the paperback. It's a weighty 346 pages and includes two inserts of photographs which he feels are most important to accompany the text.
The book opens with McEnroe's experiences of 9/11. The book's publication was around the same period of time and the fact that the McEnroe family were living in New York at the time makes it an especially significant story. We hear so many stories now about what people were doing on that day or how they reacted or what a near miss they had. They are all important stories that shock and hypnotize us because we all understand in one way or another that the world changed completely on that day. McEnroe's account of the day is another amazing and surreal report that instantly tells us a lot about the man because of his thoughts and actions on that horrific day.
McEnroe then tells us how he came to be living the life he has now, what his current employment is (he is a prolific and well respected commentator now) and then reels back in time to reveal to us, piece by piece, his life in the game. The writing style is very engrossing and you can really hear McEnroe talking through the text. It's the perfect writing style, brimming with attitude and with a slight conversational style, to expose McEnroe's true character.
What I loved most about the autobiography was learning about McEnroe's journey to the top and then his subsequent fall from glory as a natural part of the game. It's the same story that every top ranked tennis player must live through. All of the pride and excitement that follows the hard work to reach number one status or Grand Slam champion eventually followed by the slip sliding road to retirement. Grad Slam Wonderboy to the guy who consistently loses in the first round to the new generation of hard hitters. We hear a lot about the glorious achievements of guys when they hit the top but we don't always hear the story about the road back down. Reading McEnroe's take on it felt like I was reading about a personal tragedy and it kind of broke my heart to hear his feelings and thoughts about what it's like to have to finally admit you are no longer 'in the game'.
There is a lot of interesting facts and revelations about McEnroe's personal life too. His true relationships with other tennis players is a no holds barred expose whilst he is frank (if noticeably courteous) regarding his relationships with wives Tatum O'Neal and Patty Smyth. If you are a big tennis fan then you'll laugh and gasp and maybe cry at some of the stories about some of the other high profile players who were on the tour with McEnroe.
One further interesting aspect about the book is McEnroe's rock n' roll dream which is a notion he never lets go of throughout the whole autobiography. Clearly, the guy wishes he had somehow managed to become a rock star of Bruce Springsteen status and the descriptions of his attempts to live his dream post tennis career are amusing in part and part awe-inspiring.
This is one of the most entertaining and honest autobiographies I have ever read. It contains just the right balance between career stories and personal ones. The writing leaps from the page as if McEnroe is actually speaking to us. The text is engrossing from the first sentence to the end of the book where Mac compiles personal lists on how to "improve tennis" and his "personal rock n' roll moments".
It's a must read if you are a tennis fan or if you love reading autobiographies of notable public figures. This book does not disappoint. I'm serious!
Summary: An excellent autobiography.
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