46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
An honest look,
This review is from: Serious: The Autobiography (Paperback)
I enjoyed this autobiography. I had initially approached it with some scepticism thinking it would just be a boring catalogue of long past achievements. It is a list of achievements but with the fresh and welcome spin of John McEnroe revealing his feelings and thought processes at each conquest and each low.
He reviews his past triumphs and failures from the perspective of the man he is today and gives an insight into his emotions at the time, and with transparent honesty, evaluates the merit or otherwise of those reactions and is admirably self-critical. He is also very truthful about his view of others and does not hide his likes and dislikes. However, he strives to be fair and always attempts to see things at least partially from the other point of view. It is obvious that this does not always come easily and somethings still grate with him, however, credit must be given for his gracious pursuit of balance and for leaving things unsaid, as required. He could so easily have launched into a vitriolic diatribe against all the injustices, perceived or otherwise, directed at him and used his book as a vehicle for revenge. Having said that, he pulls no punches but manages this without going over the top, unlike in some of the tennis matches he played during his career. It can also be seen that, reading between the lines, he looks back on some of the incidents with a quiet and nostalgic humour and this is appealing.
McEnroe comes over as an edgy, quick to anger guy, who is basically a decent, even likeable, man with a passion for his sport. His appeal for me comes from the memories of the fantastic entertainment he provided for all those years when he was at or near the top of his game. Now he informs and entertains through his precise and in-depth television commentary.
As with most books of this genre the layout is more or less chronological. However, sometimes the dates seem to jump around a bit and it is quite easy to lose track of the year being referenced, especially later on. Also in the latter parts of the book there is a tendency in places to over digress and this can lead to the passage wandering out of context. But these gripes aside, for anyone with the merest passing interest in tennis or John McEnroe, this book can be easily recommended.