Jenny Brown's Reviews > Imperfect: An Improbable Life

Imperfect by Jim Abbott
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Jul 29, 2012

really liked it
Read in July, 2012

Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from this book was how important it is to appreciate the victories and how hard it can be to do just that. Abbott accomplished something very few men do, no matter how many limbs they have, just by earning a place in the pitching rotation of a major league ball club, but his story makes it clear that, like so many of us do, he became more focused on his failures than his accomplishments, to the point where much of the joy an achievement most people assume would make a person very happy evaporated for him.

I really appreciated his candor, and I am baffled by the reviewers who feel like they didn't get inside his head. I have been fortunate to meet quite a few athletes, some in the big leagues, and have found that they tend to be very simple in how they see things and how they think. When the manager goes out to the mound to tell the pitcher "throw strikes," there's nothing ironic or simplistic about it. To perform at the level these guys do, you have to strip away most of the words and be right there doing the very simple thing you do--perfectly. To translate that into words--which take us out of the moment--is hard, so I was doubly impressed by the ability of Abbott, aided by his co-writer, to put so much into words.

I learned a great deal about what it's like to be a major league pitcher. I learned more about what it is like to be a major league pitcher who is losing his stuff, which is all too relevant this year for those of us who have been watching the Red Sox pitching staff melt down.

And of course, I learned even more about what it is like to be involuntarily cast in the role of poster child when you just want to be a kid like everyone else and to have to cope with that all your life along with the challenges that come from having things that are easy for others to do made much more difficult because of a disability.

This would be a very good book for anyone interested in baseball, anyone struggling to achieve success in any challenging field, and for anyone raising kids with disabilities who would like to understand what it's like to be the kid rather than all the adults around the kid giving the pep talks.

Highly recommended.
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