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on 10 November 2017
It feels wrong to say that this book is an “Excellent read” or “throughly enjoyable” because actually it’s incredibly sad, thought provoking and tragic.

I found myself almost hoping it wasn’t going to have the terrible ending that it had even though I knew full well what happened to Robert Enke.

It’s a fascinating story and I hope that people who read this book will come away from it with a greater understanding of depression. People often say things like ‘how can a football or celebrity be depressed? They’ve got everything’. Money and possessions aren’t everything. Depression is an illness and I hope that this book educates people on depression as an illness and an almighty battle for the person suffering with it and for the loved ones of that poor soul.
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on 27 March 2013
Let me begin by saying up front that I have bipolar disorder (manic depression) and so I know a thing or two about what Robert Enke must have gone through, but I also respect that depression is personal and the way it effects people and how sufferers respond to it are never the same from person to person.

I don't know anything about Ronald Reng but he clearly has a deep understanding of the depressive illness and how it can make people feel - not just the person with the depression (both physically and mentally) but the people around them, from loved ones to work colleagues and casual acquaintances. His fluid style means the book unfurls like a work of fiction, although we are of course, never left in any doubt that it is an all too true and tragic story.

Whether you like football or not. Whether you have heard of Robert Enke or not. Whether you can bring yourself to care about Robert Enke or not - please, please read this book.

I often feel myself bristle inside when I hear people talk about feeling so depressed, when they simply mean they feel a bit low or are having a bad day. It's not a problem, I tell myself, it's just a word. But that's the trouble, it is just a word, a word that people associate with that state of feeling a bit low. Bad days. We all have them. Monday morning blues. So the word has become diluted and this means that when someone is genuinely knocked out by clinical depression, people do question the illness - what's wrong with them? They'll get over it. Stop being so bloody selfish. Look on the bright side. As one reviewer has already said, he wanted to give Robert Enke a shake and tell him to snap out of it, there are people far worse off.

I felt Reng has done an excellent job of describing Robert Enke's depression as a medically recognised illness. Sufferers know that there are millions of people in the world far worse off than them, they realise that they have a comfy life compared to say front-line soldiers or African mothers walking miles for dirty water, so why do they feel this bad? Why can everyone else cope with life and they can't? And you sink lower and lower. Hate yourself more and more. Reng brilliantly lays out these thought cycles.

As I've said depression effects everybody differently. Mental illness effects as many people as cancer and yet it is still a taboo. A sign of weakness for all too many people. There is no universal cure, what works for one person will not even touch the sides of somebody else's problems. Robert Enke died believing that for him there was no cure. Anybody who thinks that a depressive will ever respond to a good shake should be made to read this book from cover to cover, that way Ronald Reng's gifted friend will not have died in vein.
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on 26 June 2012
A beautiful book, about a short life in sport, but much more about life than sport. Robert Enke committed suicide following a severe bout of depression, but it would be such a shame to let that define him, and this book sets out to understand what came before the tragedy.
The author, a journalist and friend of Robert Enke, looks deeply, but never intrusively, into Enke's history to reveal the all too human side that may otherwise be missed when a celebrity takes his or her own life. I certainly never thought much about professional footballers having anything other than a bit of a gilded career, but I doubt I'll look at them the same way after reading this. It never crossed my mind that a professional footballer, or any other sportsman for that matter, would look forward to a game with anything other than sheer relish for the performance to come - I'd heard the occasional tale of footballers throwing up with nerves before a big game, but never really believed them. I believe them now. This book takes you into the nerves, the anxiety, the doubt and the self-loathing that can come from the pressure of trying to play at the top level of sport. Despite this, the book isn't depressing or downbeat in itself. On the contrary, the simple and almost sparse prose probes into the life of Robert Enke with a sensitivity and near objectivity that doesn't ask for your sympathy but elicits it nonetheless. Robert and his family come alive through the pages, but never larger than life despite their situation. A hero to many, Robert Enke here becomes writ large only in the depiction of his struggle with depression.
The book carries you toward the end with a rising sense of foreboding as Robert is trapped behind a fog of hopelessness that nobody can reach him through. The author manages to convey just how difficult it is, and how frustrating and terrifying it can be, for those who'd love to give help and support, but become frozen out as the illness takes a grip. Sad, moving and sometimes quite frightening, this is not an easy read but is a very worthwhile one.
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on 30 March 2018
Has to be one of the most captivating sporting read ever! Yes its sad, tragic however, the quality of how Robert's life is told captures your attention and ultimately your heart. An excellent mix of sporting triumphs, lows with the mental impact of a man's struggles, the most captivating sport biog ever read!
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on 12 April 2014
This is a great read. As a football fan I found this heart wrenching to read that even a man as great and successful as Robert Enke can still be haunted by dark thoughts and demons. Heart breaking finale even though you know what the outcome will be, to read about his family and friends and their battle to lift Robert from the black times and a reflection on their love for him. One of those books were you don't want the final pages, not because you don't want it to end, but because you don't want it to finish this way, that somehow if you don't get to the end he'll still be here, with his family and with his friends and all will be ok.
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on 14 August 2015
This is the kind of book that everybody should read, it gives a great insight into the sports professionals life, both positive and negative. Most importantly it helps to explain the other side of life. The use of Robert diaries and insights given by his friends and family really helps to give a complete picture of his life. It tackles the issue of depression with openness and honesty. Robert Enke was a very talented man both on and off the pitch, what his friend does is tell his story and leave the reader to hopefully seek there own answers. I applaud everyone who helped make the book possible and thank them for helping to raise an issue which for most people is still not really spoken about, but has such a massive effect on many millions of people around the world.
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on 30 June 2012
Depression is certainly no laughing matter and it is a problem that besets a high proportion of the population to a greater or lesser degree.

Yet it is something that seems to be swept under the carpet and the insidious effects of this disorder can so easily be ignored or diminished.

That is why this book which illustrates so clearly and heartrendingly the toll that depression can take on a public figure who seemed to the casual observer to have an envious lifestyle and everything to live for is essential reading.
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on 24 May 2014
Again this book had won the William Hill Sports Book prize which I always consider to be a great starting point for me to read.
This book tells the insightful tragic story of such a gifted footballer. It leaves no stone unturned, and you know at the beginning the end outcome.
Most of us look at footballers with such jealously, the vast sums of money, hero worship but in this you read a story which makes you realise how lucky you are. Mental illness impacts on everyone.
You must read this book.
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on 6 November 2013
This award winning book explains what drove a top sportsman to kill himself at the age of 32.
Robert Enke was Germany's number 1 and had kept goal for leading European clubs like Benfica and Barcelona.
His friend, Ronald Reng, charts Robert's highs and his disastrous lows. An obsessive perfectionist Enke would beat himself up for days if he thought his mistakes had contributed to a defeat.
Reng movingly describes how Enke battled against depression - his story held particular resonance for me as a fellow sufferer - and how through it all his wife was there to give her loving support.
Ultimately,the light of death grew stronger than the light of life for Robert,clearly a charming, personable and hugely talented character, and he ended it all by stepping in front of a train. Sport made him a household name and a hero to tens of thousands but in the end his dedication to that sport killed him.
Inspiring, illuminating and heartbreakingly sad A Life Too Short is a must for anyone interested in understanding the demands that professional sport makes on the men and women who we think have it all.
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on 7 January 2013
This book brings together a fascinating account of the less glamorous side of behind-the-scenes football life at the top level, with an excellent explanation of the way depression can affect someone who is not only at the top of their profession, but also outwardly happy with their own family life.
Very interesting not only for those with a direct interest in sport, but as a study of the effects of depressive illness despite a highly successful career, including an amazing insight into how Enke was sometimes able to continue to perform professionally at such a high level at times when his illness was so badly affecting his private life and health.
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