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West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life (2011)

by Jerry West(Favorite Author)
3.67 of 5 Votes: 1
031605349X (ISBN13: 9780316053495)
Little, Brown and Company
review 1: Jerry West aptly earned the nickname "Mr. Clutch" for handling the pressure in the waning moments of a big game. But after reading his recent autobiography, one might also call him "Mr. Angst" for his inability to feel comfortable in his own skin off the court. Who knew that cool cat was so troubled? And it's this naked unveiling that captivates in "West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life."His unhappy childhood, which included an abusive father and the early death of a beloved brother, is something he still grapples with and the reader senses his catharsis in the writing. He talks of just wanting to disappear and admits to suffering from depression--quelling his pain with medication. At times, though, it just appears he's a humble introvert who found himself mired i... moren a public life more suited to an extroverted personality. And despite basketball being his savior and escape hatch, he is still to this day haunted by all of those losses to the Celtics in the Finals (poor Jerry!).It's mostly a modest account, but he does manage to mention more than once that he's the one to always pick up the check. And describes what an ass he was for walking out on his on his own surprise party, but slips in that the employee who arranged it always felt he was the best boss ever. There's lots of moaning and groaning throughout, but it's countered with the positive as well. In the end, you get the feeling West has bared his soul honestly.On personal note, the book brought back a painful memory of my own. Back in 1970, my family moved just a few blocks from Jerry West's home. It was a modest neighborhood for an NBA superstar to be living--he would move not long after to a ritzier part of town. I was a timid 10-year-old at the time, and West's home had a mystery akin to Boo Radley's house in "To Kill a Mockingbird." What went on in there?At the neighborhood park, as it turned out, I became somewhat friendly with West's son David, who was the same age as me. Then one day, he invited me over to his house. I was stunned, and pitifully terrified, by the invitation. Any other kid would have jumped at the opportunity--Jerry West was a god in LA in 1970.But with an inexplicable fear, I declined. It eats away at me to this day. Fear of the unknown can be a debilitating and ugly thing.
review 2: It was an interesting glimpse into the life of one of the greatest NBA players ever (and of course, the guy on the NBA logo). My biggest problem with the book was the way it was written -- it was very disjointed and difficult to follow. The chapter titles would often not even be a description of what the chapter was talking about. However, there were some great stories, especially in regards to West's relationships with his peers in the NBA, the players he drafted (Shaq, Kobe, etc.) and the Lakers front office. less
Reviews (see all)
A good read for Lakers fans and NBA historians. David West is a very complex fellow indeed.
really enjoyed reading this book, he took you though his life not just basketball.
Interviewed today by Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday.
The shy, beleaguered life of West went away on the hardwood.
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