An honest, sympathetic and balanced portrayal of mental illness that benefitted greatly from the cooperation of Robert Enke's family.
Because its a book where the reader knows there is no happy ending, it was often a difficult read and, even when Enke's life seemed to be on an even keel, there was a feeling of doom in the writing. What lifted that doom was the fact that the book was at least in part, a love story between Enke and his wife. Their relationship was beautifully chronicled and one is never left in doubt that Enke was adored by everyone close to him. In a way, that makes his suicide even more tragic but it also shows that mental illness is a cruel cruel thing.
Recommended wholeheartedly, despite its difficult and challenging subject matter.
I remember vividly being unable to sleep during the early morning of November 10th 2009, going downstairs and hearing about Robert Enke's death on Sky Sports News. Having suffered fom some of the symptoms that he felt (but without the public spotlight) I decided to buy the book in the wake of Gary Speed's death last week. This is a fantastic read. Highly emotive, well presented and several notches above most sports books. Thoroughly recommended.
Disturbing true story of a goalkeeper of a top German club and other who was wracked with the fear of failure and the loss of his child. Having a smiling face does not mean you have a good life it means sometimes you mask everybody away from your true feeling. Robert Enke is a superstar who had to stand in front of 50,000 + fans and perform without this being known. Gives you a good understanding of how depression affects people and how it also devastates family. Must read
Before reading this book I new nothing about Robert Enke really but found the most amazing things people do to help with depression in such circumstances really touching. A truely great read throughout that made me feel privileged to know more about Robert Enke and his family and the difficulties they shared.
Until he passed away, I'll admit I hadn't really heard of the German international goalkeeper Robert Enke. When I heard there was a book being released about his life I still wasn't that interested, simply because I never really knew the guy, as a player or a man.
I am so glad I ignored any previous misgivings or hesitation I had. This is a must-read book, and not just for football fans either.
Don't worry if you didn't know who Enke was, where he came from or who he played for. It's all covered and in detail too. Author Robert Reng was a friend and had in-depth access to Enke and his wife Teresa as well as Robert's personal diaries. So you know the author has his facts right and it shows in the style the book's written in. At times A Life Too Short reads like a work of fiction, it flows seamlessly from chapter to chapter and is never boring or repetitive. Despite dealing with the difficult subject that is depression, not once does Reng's writing become morbid or depressing itself. In fact the book really helped me to understand just how serious the illness is and how horrible it must be for sufferers. Enke certainly had an interesting life and a very interesting career. The chapter that deals with Enke's match during his time at Barcelona, when the Catalan side faced off against the small Spanish minnows Novelda is simply incredible. It is a harrowing piece of writing, you can literally feel Robert coming apart as the match turned in Novelda's favour.
It's not all negative though. As Robert experiences the highs that come with being a professional footballer, you feel like you're right there with him the entire time. Enke's years in Lisbon with Benfica come to mind, when he embraced the Portuguese culture around him until he felt right at home. There are just as many highs as there are lows in A Life Too Short.
This is a special book and I would recommend it to all readers of sport, football especially. It is easily one of the best biographies I've ever had the pleasure of reading and could quite possibly be the best football title I've read too. At the time of writing this, A Life Too Short has been long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and it would be a crime for it to miss out on the short-list. I personally feel it should win the whole thing, it's simply that good.
Just go ahead and buy it, because A Life Too Short really is a powerful book. You won't regret it.
Firstly, I have never written a review, largely because I'm apathetic by nature and have never been compelled to do so. Then I read this book.
Incredibly well written, doesn't matter if you follow german footballers, football in general or even sport. I read this book and read about traits in Robert that I can see in myself as well as others, as I'm sure you will too, you then realise the fine line that many tread daily. This is what makes this book so gripping.
The cover of the book has a review that says "deeply affecting" - nothing could be more accurate. It is affecting - both negatively (it's a sad story!)and positively (exploring mental health and illness) making people aware and talking more freely about mental health - which has to be a good thing.
There is a very fine line between the sensitive and the intrusive when issues such as mental health and suicide are discussed; this is a line which Ronald Reng is careful to tread in his review of the life and death of his friend Robert Enke.
On one level, the book presents a more or less linear narrative about Robert Enke's (always interesting) life and career. However, a subject such as Enke does not lend himself to a straightforward footballer's biography and Reng probes deeper, looking at Enke's ups and downs in the context of the profession he chose and the destiny to which it led him.
it would be very easy for a book of this nature to descend into standard "misery memoir" territory. However, Reng steers clear of that; while he pulls no punches in conveying Enke's level of disturbance, he is never prurient, preferring instead to look at the possible causes for Enke's problems. The people closest to Enke have clearly been generous in their assistance to the author and that bears fruit in the sensitive treatment of both the individual and the condition from which he suffered.
While the writing is clearly of a quality consistent with such a delicate subject, the translation lets it down from time to time, in that it does not seem to have been produced (or edited) by someone with the in-depth knowledge of football which would have produced a smoother rendering. That is however a very minor criticism. This is a work which I suspect will be held up in the years to come as an example of just how good sportswriting can be.
I suffer from depression i have been in hospital because of it and feel that i can add a review of context for this book. Football is a passion of mine although i have lost some interest due to the money involved.
Having read a lot of books on depression this one spoke out to me the most.The author who was a friend of Robert really does explain the thinking of someone who is depressed,he is helped by the fact that Robert kept a diary of his feelings that he could not express to the world.The book tells the highs and lows of being a proffesional footballer and Robert had plenty of lows but his career was on the up when he took his own life.He had demons of failure he was worried if he told people he was depressed his adopted daughter would be taken away.Robert and his wife had lost their first child due to a heart defect.Through all that he was now the German goalkeeper but that means nothing when you have depression.This book is not sentimenal it just shows that depression can happen to anyone.I would reccomend this book most highly