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Rules for Becoming a Legend [Hardcover]

Timothy S Lane

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not into sports, 30 Mar 2014
By Amberlynn Lane - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
and I don't even like much cussing in books. But I loved this book and have already recommended it to my book club. The writing style is refreshingly different, perfectly suited to the tale. The depth of the imagery and characters contrast with the sport reporter style reporting on a life instead of a game as well as the small town interactions and dialogue. Anyone looking to read something different, compelling, worth reading. . . here it is. Rules for Becoming a Legend is a fine debut. I look forward to the next book by Timothy S Lane.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome 5 May 2014
By Jim Wilkinson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Its a very compelling read once I got going I could not put it down. I look forward to more of Mr Lanes work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Legend for All Time 27 Mar 2014
By TucsonSusan - Published on
I won Rules for Becoming a Legend: A Novel in exchange for writing a review.

This is a miraculous book. It tells the story of Jimmy Kirkus, a young basketball player, who, in the first chapter, runs repeatedly into a brick wall in his high school gym, hitting the bricks head on, until he collapses in a pool of blood. Miraculously, he survives this and is released from the hospital in a few days, and his life, the life of his father and grandfather, and the life of the community change forever. Frankly, I couldn't believe he could survive this, but he does. That is the gist of the story. I cannot reveal more without spoiling the tale.

The story is told from three perspectives - Jimmy, his father, and his grandfather, each of whom are legends in their own minds and in their own right. The book alternates between "the crash" and the days preceding it, and the past, which tells the story of Jimmy and his father and grandfather, enabling the reader to learn the history of the Kirkus family. Some readers might find this confusing, but I found it fascinating - alternating between the present, the past, the immediate past, and the perspectives of the three generations of this family provides remarkable insight into family and societal relations and dynamics and a lot of food for thought. Each generation of Kirkus males has his own story, and that story informs the stories of the other Kirkus men.

A small but unifying theme that runs through these individual stories is "the yips," a state of nervous tension affecting an athlete in the performance of a crucial action, which afflict all the Kirkus males in one way or another. The "yips," I learned when I researched the subject, may be an anxiety disorder or it may be a neurological disorder known as focal dystonia. This is important, because we learn as the story progresses, that Jimmy, as a child, was a natural basketball whiz, but when he starts playing basketball in high school, although he starts out as a winner, his game deteriorates so badly that the community says he suffers from the yips. However, after he bashes his head into the brick wall, the yips disappear as mysteriously as they appeared - does Jimmy have focal dystonia? Did his head injuries cure it? Am I on the right track?

I don't know, and that is one of the most compelling features of this story - you have to read between the lines and ask yourself what is the "fiction" of these people's lives, and what is the "fact?"

I find the title very telling as well. Jimmy and his father and grandfather want to be legends, and what happens to them in this quest can either be defined as success or devastating disappointment. I found myself thinking about my own life in terms of what stories I tell myself, what stories I tell to friends, what stories I tell to my family, and realized that "a legend" is what we make of it for ourselves. And of course, this is the eternal question: what are the facts of our own lives and what are the stories we tell ourselves and each other who we are? So much of memory is a collage. So many of the stories that we think make up the quilt of our lives are stories that other people have told us. And so much of the life of Jimmy Kirkus is told through the stories that other people tell us about him.

The story is essentially an allegory about success and failure. You will either love it, as I do, or you will find it so confusing you set it aside. I urge any reader to stick with it, because it is ultimately very rewarding.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and Satisfying 19 Mar 2014
By dcaccavano - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Every new detail makes you want to discover more and more about why the lead character, Jimmy Kirkus ended up in the situation that he is in. The clever story-telling and heartbreaking tragedy that weaves throughout this book makes it about so much more than high school basketball. It is a universal story about self-doubt, overcoming generational shortcomings, and discovering what makes you great. I loved it and anyone from a small town can instantly relate to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of that life, but city-dwellers will also appreciate this window into a very approachable story. You should get this
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King on the Court 24 Aug 2014
By Gail Ofterdinger - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
My favorite line from this work is "Meanwhile for Genny Mori, the house started to feel like a foreign country she didn't have a passport for." How many of us feel something similar? Take a look around at your family members and this just hits home. This book is much more than the story of a basketball dynasty in small town America although it does give a straight-on look at team sports and the overblown emotion that follows with the strive for excellence. It's about soldering on through the aftermath of tragic events. It's about heroes who are humans with flaws and it's about a community's expectations for those it loves.
Is grandpa a whackadoodledoo or a man with a dream for his son? Is the father making loving and supportive parental decisions? This book needs to be read by you. The media needs to take a look at it for screenplay possibilities. I wish the author much success and thank Penguin for the opportunity to have an early read.
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