Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Dirty Little Secrets - The Tony Mandarich Story: A Book Review

My Dirty Little Secrets
Steroids, Alcohol & God
The Tony Mandarich Story

By Tony Mandarich, as told to Sharon Shaw Elrod
Available at Amazon.Com

One Man, Two Souls
Review by Beverly Pechin for Review The Book

As a sports fan I recall the days of Tony Mandarich's entry into the NFL & all the hoopla about his entry into the draft. While I am and shall always remain a Steelers fan, I didn't pay a lot of attention to names outside of my own little world of Pittsburgh per say, but I do recall the draft and excitement with Mandarich. I also recall the Sports Illustrated issue that professed Mandarich as "The Incredible Bulk". This man had a brief moment in my world where even I, myself, was in awe. He fell off my radar quickly though and I never really thought about what had happened to him in between. I'm not even sure if he HAD been on my radar I would have truly known his true story until now, and Mandarich not only opened up heart and soul but told it with grit, truth and a lot of harsh reality.

We've all seen and read the tell all books of former stars & players that quickly scream out big names of all those who even touched their lives during their days of "usage". Most are pretty much the same, "I made it big.. I did drugs.. I fell... I'm doing a tell all book and tossing out big names of those I did the drugs with, in hopes to sell tons of books!". Mandarich does none of that. He's open, honest, takes full blame and doesn't point fingers. Not once do you read another stars name in a way that Mandarich points fingers and "narcs" out anyone to gain fame and sell his book. I have a lot of respect for anyone that approaches such a book in this way and can only say Kudos to Tony Mandarich. You are, in every aspect of the word, a gentleman.

The story itself isn't pretty. It's blunt, it's ugly and it's truthful. It's addiction. It's also enlightening, both for those of us whom have never experienced such horrid events in our life and I'm certain, to many who are currently in the same boat as Tony had been. It's the story of one man who, somehow, found another soul and another chance at life.

Probably one of my favorite parts of the book has nothing to do with the sports aspect itself, it has to do with when Tony was first beginning his road to recovery and finds his "Soul Guide". The depth, the absolute bizarreness of the entire event leaves one speechless and knowing that something like this simply cannot be made up but only told from an actual heartfelt experience. My second favorite part is the little "dig" he gets in on former 2007 Chargers defensive back, Rodney Harrison. It's one of the few times that a name is even mentioned per say but the small appreciation you know he got with the sarcastic words "Way to go Rodney" simply made me smile.

The book is written with an easy flow that provids for quick and easy reading. It's profound in so many ways, yet not so deep you get lost in the words. It's enlightening and most of all it's soul searching style leaves you cheering for this man who began his journey in the world of sports completely wrong, only to find the right path by a miracle of miracles and realize what life is truly all about. A man who literally lost his soul, only to find it again and learn to nurture and appreciate it fully.

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