Ronnie (written with Guardian journalist Simon Hattenstone) is a stark affirmation for those of us who would believe that there must be more to being a top professional sportsman than simply working hard to develop talent--that there are often dark, elemental forces driving achievers to go beyond the point where most of us would cease to care. Ronnie's relationship with his parents is at the heart of the story, underpinning his struggle for contentment, his descent into depression and addiction. We learn that the tabloid facts--his father ran a string of sex shops, was convicted of killing a man in a fight and sentenced to life imprisonment; later his mother was also imprisoned, for tax evasion--are just the half of it.
The style is confessional without being mawkish, and thankfully, O'Sullivan's brand of openness, particularly when chronicling his periods in therapy (including with former England cricket captain turned psychiatrist Mike Brearley) and at the Priory, is free of the awful self-aggrandisement and "me-isms" that blight the official public accounts of many celebrities.
Ultimately this is a tale of redemption, of a young man dismantled by experience, now putting himself back together. O'Sullivan closes the book looking back to the beginning of his public life, his mid-teens, when he first tied his fortunes to professional snooker. He sees it as a golden era, off and on the baize, a period of personal happiness and sporting success the like of which he at last believes has not been lost forever. --Alex Hankin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.