I Beat the Odds : From Homelessness, To the Blind Side, and Beyond
by Oher, Michael; Yaeger, Don (CON)

Prologue Reaching Backix
Chapter One Begging and Bumming: Life in Hurt Village
Chapter Two Life at Home
Chapter Three The Day They Took Me Away
Chapter Four Life in the System
Chapter Five Running Back
Chapter Six Escape from St. Joseph's
Chapter Seven "Home" Again
Chapter Eight MJ and Me
Chapter Nine Big Tony and Steve
Chapter Ten The Road to Briarcrest
Chapter Eleven High School
Chapter Twelve Finding a Family
Chapter Thirteen Finding Football
Chapter Fourteen Miss Sue
Chapter Fifteen Rebel with a Cause
Chapter Sixteen The Draft
Chapter Seventeen On Raven's Wings
Chapter Eighteen The Blind Side
Chapter Nineteen A Different Kind of Fan Mail
Chapter Twenty Breaking the Cycle
Chapter Twenty-One Ways to Get Involved

The award-winning NFL athlete made famous by the book and movie, The Blind Side, reflects on the disparity between his youth and his present-day circumstances, sharing first-person perspectives on his inner-city childhood, relationship with his adoptive family and views on role models. Movie tie-in.

Michael Oher is an American football offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. He played college football at the University of Mississippi for the Ole Miss Rebels. He is best-known as the subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, and the even more popular 2009 film The Blind Side, in which Michael was portrayed by Quinton Aaron.
Don Yaeger is a former associate editor for Sports Illustrated. He is the author of thirteen books and coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers, including Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton and Ya Gotta Believe!, the autobiography of Tug McGraw.

Hulking NFL tackle and subject of the film The Blind Side (2009) blends practical advice with autobiography in this intimate ghetto-survival guide.

With the help of former Sports Illustrated associate editor Yeager (co-author, with John Wooden: A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring, 2009, etc.), Oher tells his often-compelling Horatio Alger story sans the entertainment-industry embellishment of the Hollywood version of his life in The Blind Side, first a book by Michael Lewis, then a popular movie. Oher's young life was shaped by an intense love for sports, especially basketball and football, but also profoundly affected by the netherworld of the ghettoes in Memphis. The author writes about having to cope with an absentee father and an undependable, crack-smoking mother, and about his time bouncing around the foster-care system and supporting himself through petty theft. Eventually, he made decent money selling newspapers on street corners. His major first steps out of the ghetto came in high school, when, despite early trouble with academics, Oher was accepted to the reputable private school Briarcrest. However, his intermittent homelessness didn't officially end until local Good Samaritan Leigh Ann Tuohy offered him the closest thing to a permanent residence he'd ever had. Tuohy's guardianship served as a launching pad for Oher's successful high-school athletic career, which led to a scholarship with the University of Mississippi and to an eventual first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens. The book is strongest when Oher conveys his hard-won wisdom through specific examples and anecdotes from his life. When he dispenses more generalized advice, the narrative reads like a generic public-service announcement.

Often preachy, but Oher scores points with good intentions and an unrelentingly positive message. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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