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The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  804 ratings  ·  108 reviews
"If there was an opportunity for me to return to Cleveland and those fans welcomed me back, that'd be a great story."—Lebron James

Scott Raab is a last vestige of Gonzo Journalism in an era when sanitary decorum reigns. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, Raab has chronicled—at GQ and Esquire—everything from nights out with the likes of Tupac and Mickey Rourke to a mo
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ebook, 320 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Harper
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(showing 1-30 of 1,293)
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Patrick Brown
Dec 21, 2011 Patrick Brown rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any fan of great writing
You don't get to choose where you're from. Fate puts you where it pleases, and that's that. I didn't choose to grow up in Upstate, to think that sausage and peppers were a national delicacy. I could've been born two streets over, where I would've learned to skate as soon as I could walk. Instead, I rode the bus an hour to podunk farming towns like Camden and Holland Patent to play basketball in decrepit gyms against thick farm boys whose shorts were too tight and who sweated too much. All those ...more
Noah
I am of the mindset that LeBron probably garnered more hatred than he deserved (though he did deserve high levels of scorn for the absolutely atrocious "Decision" special), but I still approached this book with excitement. I've always enjoyed Scott Raab's writing, and I read several of his blog posts on Esquire about LeBron with delight, as I love a good hate-filled rant.

What I got with this book, though, was not the story of one man looking for the soul of LeBron James. LeBron, as it turns out,
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John Sebold
I was excited to read this book. I endured, as many other beleaguered sports fans, the exercise in nauseating self-aggrandizing that was "The Decision." Over the past year or so there has been so much chatter about the hurt feelings of Cleveland fans. Many a snarky sports personality has derided Clevelanders to "just get over it," and intoned "who wouldn't want to be in South Beach over Cleveland." (Since when did one tiny beach hide the fact that Miami is the 4th poorest city in the U.S.?) As ...more
Joshua
I planned to not read this book when I first heard about it, because the name was stupid, and the concept -- a guy following around LeBron James heckling him for leaving the Cavs -- seemed stupid as well. Then the book got great reviews from people who said it was actually nothing like that, and I heard the author on the radio, describing a book that sounded much more thoughtful and interesting than a book about hating LeBron (an emotion which can be justified in shorter-form works).

So I dove i
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William Johnson
The Whore of Akron is, no doubt, a masterpiece. It takes the immediate stereotypes its title gives off (the Cleveland and/or tortured sports fan mad at everyone's new punching bag LeBron James) and, instead, turns hate into revelation and passion into both a joy and a curse.

I despise LeBron James but, unlike the author and most of America, I was in very small company when my hatred of the player (not the person, mind you, though is apparent narcissism and lack of what appears to be human emotion
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Kenneth
I coach football with a guy named George Reinke. The first time I was in the room while he was breaking down film, he watched one of his linemen deliver one hell of a block at the point of attack. The linemen fired out of his stance like a damn cannon ball, punched the d-linmen square in the gut, drove him back about 8 yards and when the whistle blew this kid drove his feet, rolled his hips and planted his kid in the ground. He got up by pushing off his opponent with an attitude that clearly sta ...more
Jake
Scott Raab brings the hate like NO ONE else. As a lifelong Cleveland sports fan, Raab has plenty of targets for his sweet, sweet vitriol, but none more deserving than Lebron James.

After Lebron embarrassed his hometown on national television, choosing to take his 'talents' to South Beach, Raab turned his own Esquire.com column into a yearlong screed of righteous hatespeak against LeBenedict. It was a glorious batch of writing but a year later, everyone else had moved on and Raab's act was wearing
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Brad Wojak
I believe it says something, that I devoured a book about basketball. As a person who equates watching sports with spending a night in Abu Ghraib, this is the last sort of book I would seek out; however, it charmed the pants off of me. It is snarky, self-reflective gonzo journalism at its finest. I still don't ever see myself sitting down and watching a full NBA game, but I have a new appreciation for Cleveland's fans.
Dave
Cheering for a sports team is rooting for laundry. We cheer the jersey more than the player in nearly every case. It's ridiculous in a way, but no more absurd than focusing on an actor or politician who cares just as little about our existence. However, when a hometown savior is loved despite failing to deliver a title, and then repays that love by ripping your heart out and then tap dancing all over it in a national television special, sports become more than just a game.

Raab does a good job of
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Philip Cook
GREAT BOOK. If you are from Cleveland this is a must read. If you are from Ohio this is a must read. If you are tired of selfish atheletes who have no idea what loyalty to a town and a fan base is this is a must read. I have two things that I would modify though. 1. As a Methodist I have no idea what some of the words were that Scott used that were from the Jewish community. I assume it was Yidish but not sure. The other thing that I would have prefered to see mentioned more heavily is the secti ...more
Gavin
Scott Raab is every beleaguered Cleveland sports fan's hero. He put into words what I time and time again have not been able to do. The question I so often get asked when I tell people I grew up in the Cleveland area is "Oh, so what do you think of Lebron?" Even now, more than two years after the mockery of objective reporting that was ESPN's The Decision, I get into raised-voice debates marked more by my own emotional involvement than the reason behind our collective Cleveland feeling of utter ...more
Brad
So with Lebron winning his first title just days ago I felt somewhat compelled to read this book. I am a bit of an agnostic when it comes to Lebron James, although I do have to admit I have followed his career with a certain amount of fascination. In reading this book I had less than pure motives and was kind of hoping for the 'inside scoop' on King James. The Whore of Akron doesn't really offer anything 'juicy.' For those that follow basketball there will be nothing new here. Raab, a diehard, C ...more
Margarita
Positives: This is a quick read and isn’t boring. Sure, Raab may rant (a lot), but what I like is how present he is in his writing. He has a very strong voice and he lets his readers experience it.

Drawbacks: If you’re expecting a book with a focus on LeBron James, you’d be terribly disappointed. The title is misleading and likely done simply to market the book. This book is far more about Raab working though his issues as a) a bitter son b) an overweight, recovering addict and c) a bitter Clevel
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Micah
This book is an absolute problem. I see what it's trying to do, but it fails. It fails in how it's written, it fails in it's perspective, and it fails completely in it's execution. The entire book is couched in sexual language. It's all about this weird kind of sexual self-hatred wrapped up in sports. Not once does the book acknowledge any social context of black sexuality and the dehumanization of black men in relation to sports. The entire thing is infuriating. The way it sets up LeBron James ...more
Chris
This book and it’s heavy-handed title aren't so much about LeBron James and The Decision as what LeBron James' decision did to poor Scott Raab and the people of Cleveland. There's been a definite economic impact from LeBron James “taking his talents to South Beach,” but to hear it from Raab it’s the worst thing to happen to the city since the steel mills closed, maybe even worse. Only towards the end of the book, during a particularly touching anecdote about Raab caring for his sick son, do we l ...more
Kathleen
First off, I recognize that Scott Raab can write. Of course, it's in an over-the-top, often profane style. I've seen that work, and I could see him making it work. With another book.

I ended up skimming this book, however, because it's basically a memoir -- and Raab didn't persuade me he was all that interesting. He's just sad. And angry.

When it comes to LeBron James, Raab's anger seems misplaced and more than a little embarrassing.

I don't understand sports fans (or sportswriters) who think any
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Michael
The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James had been on my "to-read" list since it was released. I just could not get myself to sit down and read it. I am a proud Clevelander who once left the "Mistake by the Lake" for a better life, ironically in Florida too, to only return home. As a sports fan I can respect James' talent on the hardwood and I just didn't want to read a book that was going to hatchet him to make Cleveland sports fan feel better. I also didn't want to rere ...more
Joe
Raab is a lunatic fan, and he hates LeBron James. That said, he won me over with his writing. I still think he's a lunatic, but I respect him and found his honesty endearing. I'm also reminded of a couple of truths from this book 1) that sports makes a wonderful hobby, but a lousy God and 2) that most people with hate issues have some serious self-loathing. Raab does and makes himself likeable enough that his book is compelling.
Joyce
Wild, outrageous, crude, but brutally honest... and the man knows how to write. Definitely not for every sports fan, as it is as much a personal memoir as a book about LeBron, the NBA, ESPN, and what professional sports teams can do for cities...
Christina
Finally, someone put in words what every diehard Cleveland sports fan feels.

Easy read, entertaining, historical. Still hate LeBron, so nothing gained in that aspect.
Aaron Brame
My wife and I have an understanding. When the Steelers lose, I get one 45-minute sulking period in which I am exempt from all domestic duties, when and am free to pout, curse, and generally act like a baby.

When my forty-five minutes are up, it's time for me to behave like an adult again. Some losses take longer to get over than others, but when my heart gets particularly pulverized I remind myself that I am a fully-formed adult who should be able to act like one. When my time runs out, I get ov
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Michelle
This book is about Scott Raab and his obsession with LeBron James. It is known that that Mr. James is a traitor because he grew up in Akron, played for the local team (Cleveland Cavaliers), and then abandoned them in search of a ring.

I love books about the seedy underbelly of basketball, and because my beloved Mavs valiently won the NBA 2011 championship over LeBron's Heat, I wanted to see it from the other side. Local news would even talk about "Mavaliers", Cavs fans who supported our team as
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Dan Rimoldi
I had no plans initially to read this since I misunderstood what it was really about. I thought this book would be just a bitter fan telling us how much of a jerk LeBron is and asking how can he do this to us Clevelanders? It turns out this book is not really about that. It's more about asking the question of why do Scott Raab and fellow Cleveland fans wish for LeBron to suffer a career ending injury post-Decision? Why would they still care about sports after going through so much suffering (The ...more
Kevin Zhang
I was reading about this book and many times I thought to myself how could this author develop so much hate towards a basketball player? In this book Scott Raab talks about his obsession with Lebron James. Lebron James is known to have grown up in Akron and since he played for the local team the Cleveland Cavaliers when he abandoned them in search for his ring many people hated him. I've always been a James fan from when I knew more about basketball and when he was in the Cavs. When he was a fr ...more
Matt
This book is a must read for anyone who grew-up in Northeastern Ohio rooting for the Tribe, the Browns, or the Cavs. At its core, it's not a book about His Quitness, it is not even really a book about the Cavaliers, or The Decision. It is about a man's undying love for the city he grew-up in. It is a book of remembrance to a time when Cleveland was the 7th largest city in the nation, with a burgeoning middle class of blue collar workers who could raise a family on the wages they earned. It is ab ...more
Jessica
I stayed up all night reading this book, and when you consider the amount of cold medicine in my system, that's really saying something. I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a very long time! I'm not much of a basketball fan, but living in the next city over from LeBron James' hometown of Akron made avoiding the hype almost impossible. The Whore of Akron does a fantastic job of putting that hype in context and explaining why ALL Cleveland sports fans, even those who didn't particularly ...more
Vikki
i will be interested to see what readers who are neither native clevelanders, cavaliers fans, jews, or recovering alcoholics will think of this memoir, given that those four variables are so central to this story; being 3 out of 4 myself (though my interest in the cavs is tepid and fair-weather), i probably got more out of the book than a reader who is unfamiliar with either the city or its generations-long history of crushing sports defeats. i enjoyed this book tremendously, and i think anyone ...more
Scott Tobias
Raab is a tremendously engaging writer, posing here as a Hunter S. Thompson type whose year-long "search for the soul of LeBron James" buries insight into the mindset of the fan—specifically, the downtrodden Cleveland fan—within a digressive personal odyssey. To his credit, there's no literary pose to his hatred of LeBron: He's genuinely ticked and articulates in deliciously nasty terms the insults LeBron leveled against a city that's supposed to be his hometown. (The three biggest examples: Wea ...more
Mary
It seems from the GoodReads reviews that the people who were most annoyed by the book felt that it didn't deliver what they thought it would--they expected a well-reasoned, almost academic takedown of Lebron James and got a sometimes difficult and confused gonzo memoir from a sportswriter who happens to be from Cleveland and to have fixated on Lebron. I... quite enjoyed reading the gonzo memoir, but it's hard to be objective or to argue that this is essential reading because what is so interesti ...more
Shawn
Very entertaining from cover to cover. And very funny as well. I laughed out loud many times (which is not something I normally do when reading).
Written very well. Scott Raab is a long-time and seasoned writer of Esquire magazine and it shows.
Truth be told, if I could I would rate this 4 1/2 stars. I only bump it down a notch as I think this would have worked better as a lengthy magazine piece. Only half of this book probably centers on Lebron, which shouldn't be much of a surprise. I mean real
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