Review: The Whore of Akron

The Whore of Akron by Scott Raab

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Ratings:

Source: Publisher

From the cover:

A native son of Akron, Ohio, LeBron James seemed like a miracle heaven-sent by God to transform Cleveland’s losing ways when he was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2003. But after seven years—and still no parade down Euclid Avenue—he left, announcing his move to South Beach on a nationally televised ESPN production with a sly title that echoed fifty years of misery. The Catch, The Drive, The Shot . . . The Decision.

Out of James’s treachery grew a monster. Scott Raab, a fifty-nine-year-old, 350-pound Jewish Santa Claus with a Chief Wahoo tattoo, would bear witness to LeBron’s every move, and in so doing would act as the eyes and ears of Cleveland itself. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, hilarious, profane (and profound), The Whore of Akron is both a rabid fan’s indictment of a traitorous athlete and the story of Raab’s obsessive quest to reveal the “wee jewel-box” of LeBron James’s soul.

If you’re a sports fan then The Whore of Akron is a must read! One part unauthorized LeBron James biography and one part Scott Raab’s personal memoir, The Whore of Akron is a delightful, funny, truthful, amusing, and absolutely hilarious novel.

When I was first pitched this book, I didn’t think much about it. I love sports so if there’s a book out there about it, just sign me up because I’m down for anything sports related. What I didn’t expect was to laugh so much or sympathize so much with Raab. Raab is a Cleveland fan, where the last time the city took home the championship was the 1964 NFL Championship. Growing up as a Houston fan, I shared the pain that Raab went through as he described the losses suffered as well as the disappoints faced season after season.

You see, Raab was there to experience the 1964 NFL Championship and since then, generations have come and gone without the city bringing home another one. Similarly, I was there the last time a Houston team brought home a championship, and as I read the book, I kept wondering, will I be able to see them bring home another? Will I get the chance to attend another parade down Main St? Or will Houston suffer the same curse as Cleveland?

I’ve tried to get some of my other friends (non readers) to read this and many of them are turned off by the title or they think it’s all about LeBron James. Let me put an end to your fears right now and tell you that it’s not all about LeBron James. At the heart of this book, it’s about being a sports fan. It’s about cheering and rooting for your team despite the disappointments and heartaches. It’s about being filled with hope at the start of every season because you’re told “this is our year”. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve heard that phrased thrown around in regards to a Houston team and what do we have to show for it? A big fat goose egg. Nada. No rings, no championships. Regardless, you go out there and you put on your jersey and you support that team to the end.

And while Raab is traveling around the country to follow LeBron James and the Miami Heat, he shares with us his stories about his past, his addiction to drugs and alcohol, his failed marriage and lost child, and his regrets and redemption. The stories range from ridiculously funny to downright sad, but they add another dimension to the book that I wasn’t expecting.

There’s nothing more I can say about this book other than to say READ IT. It’s definitely worth the ride and the journey. Raab is definitely rough around the edges (he named his book The Whore of Akron, after all), but he’s an incredible writer. Sometimes you read a book and you just think, “This person was meant to write. He or she has a true knack for it.” That’s exactly how I felt as I was reading this book.

[ purchase from amazon ] [ visit the author ]

Posted on June 6, 2012, in 4.5 stars, book reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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