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4.0 out of 5 stars Be Entertained, Skeptical, Introspective, 27 Jan 2013
By 
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rudy HB (Hardcover)
If you have watched the movie you know the basics of the story: Rudy Ruettiger loses his best friend, becomes obsessed with attending and playing football for Notre Dame, quits his job and struggles against incredible odds, eventually achieving his goal via Holy Cross College, a 2 year school that, for some students, opens the doors to Notre Dame. "Rudy: My Story" completes tale and shows the scenes behind the shots of the movie. One of fourteen children, he starts working in a plant, followed by a tour in the Navy during which he notices an officer's Notre Dame ring. The officer is the first person to tell him that he, Rudy, can go to Notre Dame. His focus on his studies pays off and he makes his tackle in his last game with Norte Dame. After that, what? A couple of unsatisfying jobs before he gets the idea to make the movie so many love. He tells about the many crises and compromises that go into the making of "Rudy". The movie leads to a career as a motivational speaker and eventually author of this book.

That is a summary of the story line. But the book is not truly an autobiography. It is, at its heart, a story motivational story about determination and triumph over adversity. Rudy complains that, while in high school, he was characterized as a non-college bound student. It was only later that he received encouragement that nurtured a dream and led to its fulfillment. At Holy Cross and Notre Dame he received the boosts that he needed to overcome his learning disability and become a successful student. To get the movie completed he had to attract the interests of creative professionals and overcome the tradition of not permitting filming on the ND campus. Even after the movie had launched him into the speaking career he took his eye off the ball and suffered business losses.

As I read "Rudy" my interest ebbed and flowed. The background to the movie was interesting. The basic story is attractive but a bit schmaltzy, although I must admit that the section where he gets into the game and makes the tackle, after almost quitting the team, brought a tear to my eye. At times it seems that it is all a motivational story, great for the person who lived it, but does it really mean much for the reader? Can they, like Rudy, really reach the stars on which they wish or is he just putting on a show and collecting a fee or, in this case, selling book? As I progressed through the book I found myself successively entertained, skeptical and finally introspective. By the end I found myself, not wanting to follow Rudy's path certainly, but looking at my own, forced to confront just where I had come, what is really important and what I my dreams really are and should be. It served as a reminder that we do, within limits, shape our own destiny. Sometimes we need to stop and reflect. That is why we all need "Rudy."
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