I really, really enjoyed Cole Louison's THE IMPOSSIBLE--it made the perfect companion piece to my post- and pre-workday skate sessions.
With direct access to Mullen himself and many others, Louison writes evocatively on the early days of Rodney Mullen's career and his family life. These chapters really jumped off the page for me--I started skating in about 1999, yet didn't know _any_ of this, despite the fact that Rodney vs. Daewon Round 2 was my first ever skate video and Mullen was my favorite skater for years. It's amazing to think of someone that talented growing up in such an adversarial environment and being able to revolutionize his passion the way Mullen did. The section on suicide and depression stuck me probably the hardest. To accomplish everything Mullen has, and not be proud, grateful, and exuberant every waking moment? In a just world, it would beggar belief--but that's human nature for you.
The stuff about The Industry is also enlightening--I'd suspected for a long time that the magazines are wholly funded by sponsors, but it's alarming to learn how much can be traced back the investments of just a few people. (Still true, though, with the corporate buyouts of recent years?) There's something especially gut-wrenching about the idea of Steve Rocco playing golf on some Pacific Island, so far removed from the hobby off of which he made his millions...
I did notice a few factual errors that probably resulted from not having a quality copyeditor--Leo Romero is not being the first person to grind up a handrail (Jeremy Wray did that first in the late 90s), Pat Duffy not belonging in the same category of young Plan B super-athletes but being an OG pro who had the opening part in their first video as one of the original handrail skaters, etc. And I've been in the anti-Sheckler camp for awhile so wasn't really able to view that side of the story as impartially as I probably should have. These days, too, I'm sure Nyjah Huston would have been a better counterpoint. Those quibbles aside, though, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a thorough, well-written and insightful labor of love about a still-developing past-time, industry and art form, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone curious about the birth of the industry and the story behind one of, if not the, most talented and most influential athletes of the past half century.