Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, idiosyncratic biography, 7 Nov 2011
This review is from: Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson (Hardcover)
Paul Kimmage's effort is an engaging and occasionally inspiring tale of dealing with an unforeseen adverse situation. Matt Hampson was a fledgling sports star, and "ordinary" person, when his career was ended in an horrific scrum accident whilst training with England under 21s.

Kimmage has devised an idiosyncratic way of telling this fascinating story. He remarks that he had planned on writing the book as a screenplay, but didn't do so after the first draft was not too well received. However the book does have some cinematic style features, with the narrative interrupted frequently by Hampson's flashbacks and relentless soul searching, and also by regular visits to the court room during the tribunal, in which the dialogue alone is given.

The book is a cut above almost any other sports biography out there, and this is largely down to the inimitable style of Kimmage and the extreme nature of Matt Hampson's situation. Kimmage has toned down his thrusting and sometimes disparaging interview style (see The Sunday Times), and yet the book still reads as a brutally honest account of the accident and the ensuing consequences. The only negative part for me was a section which featured letters from Mrs Hampson to the RFU, as it was overly long and legalistic, and reduced the pace of the book too dramatically. But overall, and excellent read.
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