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Behind The White Ball: My Autobiography Paperback – 7 Oct 1999
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Jimmy White has been beaten six times in the final of the snooker world championship and on at least two of those occasions it was easier for him to have won than lost. But at the death White always managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. It is now likely he will be remembered only as the people's champion but he isn't complaining. White has made a fortune and then lost a good chunk of it, mostly through gambling. He's been in trouble with the law, had his share of tabloid exposes and pushed his marriage to the edge of collapse. But if one thing comes out of this sparky autobiography it is that White is a chancer and he will always keep going.
Behind the White Ball starts with an illiterate teenager getting both a street education and an income hustling in a south London snooker hall and ends with an older, a bit wiser, and literate man still making a living from his cue. But in between there is all the mayhem you could ask for; escaping irate locals after taking the money off the customers in a Liverpool snooker hall; fetching up a bit too often for his wife's peace of mind at Ronnie Wood's place--"although when I hang out with The Stones I end up making the tea"--and, bizarrely, attending Chelsea matches with Peter Cook. Whirlwind stuff indeed. --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Mercurial, enigmatic, exciting" (Alex Higgins)
"He may play a spellbinding game, full of invention and dash. He may even be the "best snooker player in the world" - but he is loved because he is naughty . . . and therein lies his abiding appeal" (Sue Mott Sunday Telegraph)
"Jimmy's harum-scarum attitude to life has never altered, even though he is now a household name. One of the loveliest things about him is his naturalness. Stardom has come and touched him and left him exactly the way he was" (Sunday Mirror)
"Jimmy's the ultimate player's player. He thrills the public . . . but the players get even more enjoyment out of watching him because he strikes the ball so well" (Daily Express)
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As noted by other reviewers, Jimmy doesn't fill the book with snooker stories this book's tales focus more on Jimmy's behaviour away from the baize. We are told of Jimmy's truanting as a child as well as misadventures such as two week "escapes" to Ireland. However Jimmy, at times, does not paint a good picture of himself. At times his treatment of his wife Maureen seems irresponsible to say the least, although as his life progressed this behaviour did abate a little.
So, all things considered, this is a very enjoyable read and a must for Jimmy White's legions of fans. And I would also recommend this even to non-snooker fans. Excellent!
The book is open and doesn't dodge the issues between Jimmy and Maureen. The reader gets to see, albeit through a haze of drink at times, Jimmy's World of snoooker and all the associated characters. Towards the end of the book we get an interesting insight into why Jimmy White is one of the best snooker players never to have won the World Championship.
It is one of those books which is hard to put down as you want to find out what mischief Jimmy White gets into next. The saga where a car load of them try to get through Lucan, Dublin and stopped by a garda is something out of a comedy show, especially when you read the outcome. I think the lack of dates tends to leave you being in one period of his life, then we have another story from another period and we wind up completely somewhere else but, in a way, it keeps it interesting - just like Jimmy White's life.
White always gave the impression of being a maverick and his very candid and open account of his life does nothing to counteract this. With stories about going AWOL from school, to hustling money on the underground circuit and no-end of shenanigans with friends and other snooker stars - notably Alex Higgins, White has certainly led a full life. And perhaps this is the issue, for I felt that the cheeky Cockney took the partying a step too far.
Some of his recollections are doubtless amusing, but to continually read that he has gone on alcohol-fuelled benders for days and weeks at a time leaving his long-suffering partner home alone with the kids, strikes me as nothing short of irresponsible. A handful of times you could forgive, but this seems to have been a constant theme throughout his life and his selfishness can surely not have benefitted his young kids.
I can confidently still say that I admire him tremendously for his ability on a snooker table, but unfortunately I can not say the same of him as a father or as a person.
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could have done with a bit more snooker match info for me but a good read
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