Ronnie: The Autobiography of Ronnie O'Sullivan Paperback – Mar 4 2004
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In Ronnie O'Sullivan's autobiography, Ronnie, the language is uncompromising, the subject matter challenging and the approach unflinching. Even in an age when inner demons are considered to be an essential part of a star's entourage, Ronnie O'Sullivan's autobiography is a class apart. Undisputedly the most charismatic talent in the game of snooker, the public's successor to Alex Higgins and Jimmy White in the lineage of gunslinger, wide-boy heroes, O'Sullivan began rewriting the record books as a child prodigy, and reached the summit of his game as world champion in 2001--but all along, his life was falling apart.
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.
'The autobiography not only chronicles his meteoric rise but gives us an insight into the equally extraordinary events in his private life. The fact that O'Sullivan does his own reading gives the work a powerfull added dimension.' DISABILITY TIMES --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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I mean it's great to watch and feel amazed at the display of perfection that some sportsmen are showing. But it's even greater to have their opinions, their inner struggles and comprehend the passions that form an intrinsic part of their performance.
This is what I have been looking for in the book and it is what I found. But it is not all.
The sparks of wildness that Ronnie sometimes shows at the snooker table, the often remembered sad story of his father's, his reported drug episodes and busts, along with his ever present passion for the game made me want to know more about him as a person, to hear his side of the story.
Maybe the book does not deliver truths - it would be hard to do so-, but it definitely tackles profound themes like: what it takes to become a good professional, is it only talent, is strive for perfection beneficial in every respect, what are the easy cop-outs (smoking, drinking, eating, speeding) when facing difficult life situations, is it possible to reach an equilibrium between life and job.
I think the book is ultimately a confessional therapy, it's about a man with a burden trying to uncover what has happened to him and how to deal with it. It reveals the humane, the regular side of the star.
His book or his confession is a lot about people, his mother and father, friends, other snooker players. It is of course a biased account of them, it's full of care and praise for his loved ones, and somehow distant and cruel where his competititors are concerned. But the fact he does not look to hide how he is bothered by other players' mannerisms, which are only normal in every person, only underlines and reflects the unspoiled way of his account.