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Brutally honest tale of a troubled genius,
This review is from: Flying Scotsman: The Graeme Obree Story (Paperback)
As other reviewers have written, the most striking thing about Graeme Obree's story is his honesty. Where other autobiographies have been tweaked and polished by ghostwriters, Obree's words are pure to the extent that the reader can feel such close empathy for his suffering and such elation for his successes.
The very fact that the book was written as a means of therapy for Obree makes it even more of a privilege that we are able to read it. Some of his most personal thoughts are contained, along with graphic descriptions of his suicide attempts and his desperately unhappy childhood in Scotland.
Graeme Obree is a remarkable innovator as well as a naturally gifted athlete, pushing the boundaries within his sport not only in his performances on the track but also in his contributions to the science behind it. His ability to abuse his body so much yet remain able to recover peak athletic form so quickly is nothing short of incredible. At one point he confesses that his desire to die was what made him able to push himself so far beyond reasonable levels of suffering in his pursuit of success, and that is something so fascinating to contemplate, and yet so sad.
This is no ordinary autobiography. It is a collection of the innermost thoughts of a very private man who achieved extraordinary things whilst battling terrible inner demons, and as such it cannot be criticised in any way.