Reading this book is like travelling in a time machine with an expert guide by your side. Bobbito has done an incredible service to those of us who stepped through our New York childhood and adolescence in the 70s and 80s fixated on our sneakers, especially our basketball sneakers. My wife gave me this book for Christmas and I spent much of the day poring through it, absorbing the photos and reliving experiences I had in many of the sneakers Bobbito included in the book. She didn't understand it, but she appreciated my rapture. It was like seeing pictures of dream images--looking at things I never thought I'd see again, as if they had never existed, with memories of games played in particular sneakers, in particular leagues, in particular gyms and parks, with and against particular players in their particular sneakers, flooding back to me. It also brought back memories of the sneakers that I wanted--the Wilson Batas that my cousin had, the $100 red-on-white Indiana addidas Top Tens, the yellow-on-blue Nike Waffles--and the pain of not having them. If any of this sounds strange, or even pathetic, this book may not be for you, but it will thrill the sneakerholic in your life.
But the fun isn't just in the pictures--Bobbito has assembled a crew of not-so-famous commentators on sneaker and basketball culture in New York City. To his credit, Bobbito has arranged their funny, opinionated observations in a way that makes it seem like you're reading the transcript of a barbershop conversation. This "dialogue" makes up the bulk of the text and is as engaging as the photos.
Lastly, Bobbito's introductions to each section of the book are also valuable for their personal honesty and dead-on social observations. Where'd You Get Those? is no exercise in nostalgia. Instead, Bobbito strikes a perfect balance between testimony and critique, which makes the book a valuable piece of cultural history.