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Stephen A. Mintz
- Publié sur Amazon.com
If you don't know who Chris is, then only read this if you are NOT an addict. If you're an addict this story will be horrifyingly familiar to you, and could read like your life.
I got to know Chris a little bit, and what this book is lacking is...well...Chris. Bill Reynolds wrote a wonderful book called "Fall River Dreams," written for anyone, fan of basketball or no. This book, however, lost itself between Bill's voice and Chris' voice. The ESPN documentary turns out to be a much better telling of this story because you need to see Chris. You need to hear his voice, his accent. You need to see that his wife isn't just the girl-next-door with a golden smile, you need to hear that she, too, has that unique accent and that she, too, grew up in the mean streets of Fall River.
The story itself is an amazing reveal of rags-to-riches to rags again. But you really have to see Chris or know him in his glory to know how astonishingly sad the story is, how horrific the fall from grace. You often hear about people who have the world by the tail, who have charisma or charm, who have tons of potential. Chris Herren was 200 times more than that. No one, if he chose, could resist his charms or abilities. No man, woman, child, coach...no one was immune to Chris Herren. Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes was enthralled by Chris...Chris who, while they were setting up his 60 Minutes interview, turned the tables on Mike Wallace and asked Mike all about Mike's life. Mike Wallace spent an hour pouring out his heart to Chris Herren, and it was clear Mike was smitten from then on. Bill Reynolds has felt this, too, but doesn't convey it in the book. I've watched as Chris was in a hospital and just leaned over a counter and exerted his charm silently on the woman behind the paperwork, practically willing her to look at him. She could feel it too and finally, after a long silent struggle, looked up at him. Chris just smiled, having won, and she brushed her hair off of her shoulders and gave him a stare back, one that acknowledged that no matter how independent, how strong this woman, no one was immune to Chris Herren.
Which means you have to see Chris and hear his voice to know also how easy it would be to fall for his lies. How he had no problem at all at Fresno State...he had a girl to wake him in the late morning. He had people do his homework. He had boosters throwing money at him, wanna-be's buying him drinks, handing him drugs, fans lapping up his every move, and Chris was able to convince each and every one of them (at least for a moment) that they meant something to him...that they were important.
The Rolling Stone freelancer was asked "Why Chris?" and the freelancer said "Are you kidding? Chris is Elvis!"
And Chris was.
Which is why this story matters and is so astounding and significant. But that very essence is also missing in this book. Unless you realize the power of Chris Herren, you can't fully appreciate how tragic his fall. Until you can watch Chris grab someone by the neck and bring them in for a once in a lifetime hug, or until you watch Chris literally shaking in anger at someone he's trying not to kill, you can't understand the abyss of his emotions. Finally, in this book you can't appreciate Chris' physical skills, even with the well-written verse of Bill Reynolds. I once watched Chris lift a girl up in the air while he was sitting on a couch and he just used one hand to grab her upper arm and he just....lifted. A 6'4" 220lb mass of an assistant coach tried to set a pick against Chris once. Once. The assistant had just hit a brick wall and lay on the floor for several minutes while Chris hovered unapologetically.
This book leaves you with a sort of finality, that Chris made it through the storm and is now well. The ESPN doc does the same thing. The problem is that there may easily have to be another book about Chris soon. Chris is a bright yellow star that underwent a meltdown and became a literal black hole. Now what for him? He still possesses the physical skills, but what of the personality, the gravity, the mass of his charisma?
The book neither leaves you hoping for more or wishing for less...it just kind of leaves you.
It's a good book, but it just needs to reflect Chris Herren better, and I don't know that Bill Reynolds has that kind of majesty within him.