Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review of "Doc"

One aspect of pop culture is that many like to hear about a celebrity who has had success after a fall from grace. Dwight Gooden, at least based on the content of this book, would certainly qualify as one of those who recovered, at least thus far, from his substance abuse problems.  His candid recollection of those days of drugs and alcohol and his painful road to recovery is told in this excellent memoir.  Here is my review of "Doc." 

“Doc: A Memoir” by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican, narrated by J.D. Jackson

Baseball, professional, autobiography, Mets, Yankees, drugs, audiobook

Publish date:
June 4, 2013

304 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

By all accounts, Dwight “Doc” Gooden should have been riding atop the world of baseball in late October 1986. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and he was the ace of the pitching staff for the New York Mets, who had just won the World Series in a tense seven game series. But instead of getting ready for a parade to celebrate the championship, he was in the low-income housing area getting high on drugs.

That is the beginning of this brutally honest memoir in which Gooden opens himself up about all of his substance abuse problems and how they affected his personal and professional life. This is not a happy book to read or listen to – at times it is very painful to hear what these substances have done to the man.  The text and the narration bring this all to life for the reader or listener and it is easy to get mad at Gooden for living this type of life.

While the book concentrates more on Gooden’s battle with addiction, there is a good deal of baseball stories as well. They are not as deep or humorous as many other memoirs and biographies of baseball players. Indeed, there seems to be a condition attached to each teammate remembered. Gooden got along great with Keith Hernandez – but they would often have beers together.  Darryl Strawberry was always linked with Doc – but that friendship turned out to be anything but cordial. Those are just two of the many people who Doc believes either hurt him or he hurt with his battle against addiction.

The road to recovery for Gooden is long, takes many turns including appearing on the reality show “Celebrity Rehab” and is painful. This is reflected in both the words and the narration and that is why this particular memoir was moving.  Instead of reflecting on his baseball success and failure, Gooden realizes at this point in his life what he needs to do to not only stay clean but to be a good father for his seven children and be the man that he believes he can be. 

Mets and Yankee fans who remember Gooden’s pitching and subsequent substance abuse problems will enjoy this book to see the recovery process Gooden had succeeded with to that point when the book was written. Others who wish to read about success after substance abuse will also want to read this excellent memoir.

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