My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I would really like to rate this book with more than 3 stars. However, as a memoir or biography (of left tackle Michael Oher), it feels too fact-y, and as a commentary on the evolution of the game of football, it feels too much like a narrative. Therefore, as much as I enjoyed learning more about football through this book, I cannot give it a higher rating.
Football fans who already know most of the facts, rules, plays, and superstars described in this book will (I expect) quickly become bored waiting for the personal details of the narrative to resurface, while anyone ignorant of the game must expend too much energy figuring out all the technical details and remembering all of the players, coaches, and teams to enjoy the narrative that serves as the book's structure. This was my reading experience. It took me far too long to get interested in this book, because I am not a football aficionado, and that is essentially how the book starts. I was more interested in the character study, which developed later. However, once that part of the book began in earnest, I was so wrapped up trying to learn and remember the details of football, I felt as though I was being interrupted when Lewis began focusing on Michael Oher's life again. This back-and-forth did not make for a compelling, coherent reading, and although I enjoyed both the narrative of Oher's life and the opportunity to improve my knowledge of football, I enjoyed these things separately in spite of their being combined within one book.
I have heard that this is a movie (starring Sanda Bullock, no less), and I honestly think that this may be the one instance where the book is better than the movie. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to see this movie and make my own judgements.