Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life
Harper Collins, 2007 M07 5 - 288 pages
In 2004, James Blake's life was getting more perfect by the day. A rising tennis star, with each passing year his game seemed to improve. In 2002, he was named Sexiest Male Athlete by People, and along the way he continued to gain in the rankings and earn respect on the court. Each day seemed to offer a new milestone, a new achievement; he was leading a charmed life and loving every minute of the ride.
But that life came to an abrupt halt in May 2004 when Blake broke his back in a freak accident on the court. A few months later, as Blake was recovering from his injury, he suffered another tremendous setback when his father–the man who had raised him and provided the inspiration for his tennis career–lost his battle with stomach cancer. Shortly after his father's death, Blake's situation was further complicated when he contracted Zoster, a rare virus that paralyzed half of his face and threatened to end his already jeopardized tennis career.
Breaking Back tells the story of the tumultous year that followed these three devastating events, detailing how Blake persevered through hardship to become one of the best tennis players in the world. Here Blake explains how the wisdom and words that his father imparted to him over the years gave him the ability to succeed in the face of these seemingly insurmountable odds. Though these trials proved the most difficult of his life, ultimately this trifecta of tragedy became the culmination of all his father's lessons, showing Blake that even in death, his father was still teaching him how to be a man.
In the spirit of Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking comes this remarkable tale of strength and determination from one of tennis's biggest stars. A story of passion, willpower, and the unbreakable bonds between a father and a son, Breaking Back is one athlete's account of finding hope in the bleakest of times.
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It wasn't the beer. I hadn't even had a beer. It was the zoster, a virus that grabbed
me back in July and hadn't let go. A vicious illness, zoster had paralyzed the left
side of my face, distorted my sense of taste and hearing, and robbed me of my ...
Early on, my parents had to endure some social hardships as a mixed-race
couple. My father was black and my mother white, and it wasn't always easy. One
night, early in their courtship, they were dining at a restaurant and my father
But tennis, like every other sport that we played growing up, was just a part of our
lives, not the thing that defined them. In fact, it wasn't the ATP that Thomas
dreamed of; it was Harvard University, a goal he attained and which
While this was a source of great frustration during the fall of 2003, my lone
tournament win wasn't the only thing that was haunting me. Constantly, I found
myself revisiting two encouraging losses going all the way back to 2001. One
It was a remarkable statement, if for no other reason, because he perceived
something about me that I wasn't even admitting to myself: I didn't really believe
that I belonged out there with the best players in the world. I didn't feel like I
What people are saying - Write a review
Well WrittenUser Review - sugarhill203 - Overstock.com
I found the book interesting and easy to read due to the content and good writting. Being a tennis fan I found the book to show the reasons the commentators use very positive words describing James Blake. James his mother and brother are always shown respect when referring to them. Read full review
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