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Review: I Beat The Odds by Michael Oher

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Like many movie goers, I was swept up by the magical story of “The Blind Side” the 2009 movie that brought Sandra Bullock her Oscar for the role of the foster/adoptive mom of Michael Oher, the professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens.  But with many years’ experience in child welfare, I wanted to know the child’s side of the story– and this is the book!  The story of the foster child, nearly homeless, who found the right family to help him reach his goal – to amount to something in spite of his rocky beginning in life.

 As told to Sports Illustrated writer Don Yaeger, this book tells how Michael decided at an early age to resist the streets of Memphis’s poor section, and to find a way out of the ‘hood.  His chosen path was athletics.  He found a way to play baseball, basketball, track and – yes—football and to work to achieve his goal.  His determination shines through this book, and trims away the ‘cutesy’ from the movie.  Yes, Miss Sue is there; yes, so is S. J., the younger brother (who last year emerged as his own man in the field of basketball) and Collin (the sister whose life revolved around cheerleading),as well as the parents, Sean and Leigh Ann – all the characters from the movie are there, but Michael is clearly the star of this telling of his story.

 Which is as it should be.  He encourages other children of the ghetto to hold onto their dream — that they CAN amount to something in a positive way.  I gave the book to a young client fighting her way to respectability at age 17.  Her review was:   “This is better than the movie!  It tells the ‘real’ story!” So take it from me and Lupita:  This is a great book for teens!

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Written by bethkoz

August 27, 2011 at 6:07 am

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