Monday, November 6, 2017

Review of "But Seriously"

The follow-up to John McEnroe's successful first book "You Cannot Be Serious" is reviewed here.  It didn't have that same excitement for me while reading this, but still has a few good stories.  Here is my review of "But Seriously."

But Seriously: An Autobiography” by John McEnroe

Tennis, professional, memoir

Publish date:
June 16, 2016

288 pages

3 of 5 stars (okay)

In this second memoir written by John McEnroe, “But Seriously” fails to meet the standard reached in his first book, “You Cannot Be Serious.”  Like the first one, “But Seriously” is a very quick read, has plenty of humor and covers a wide variety of topics in addition to tennis.

However, unlike the first book, “But Seriously” does not have any structure, theme or any concrete thoughts in which a reader can ponder.  This is done on purpose, and McEnroe states this to the reader in the introductory chapter.  However, it makes reading the book feel very choppy and the reader will wonder where he is going with certain thoughts and what does a story about hanging with Vitas Gerulaitis at Studio 54 in the 1970’s have to do with his current love of art or his concern about his children and what does the future hold for them? 

While reading this, there is a lot of name-dropping, which does make sense when one considers everything that McEnroe has done beyond tennis.  That is the overriding theme that I had while reading this book – that McEnroe wants everyone to know how many other famous people he has known and what he has done with them.  There is a very long passage about getting to play guitar for one song with Chrissy Hynde (one of his many “good friends” he talks about in the book) and the Pretenders.  Sometimes stories like these will connect with a reader, but for me they didn’t.

Sometimes a mish-mosh collection of personal stories can work for a memoir, but in the case of this book, it didn’t feel that way – that it was simply that – a mish-mosh of stories.  If this type of book appeals to a reader, then he or she should certainly pick this up and it isn’t necessary to have read McEnroe’s first memoir.  Because of the humor and some of the tennis stories, I give it a passing grade of three stars. 

I wish to thank Orion Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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