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I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to the Blind Side, and Beyond

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  6,659 Ratings  ·  530 Reviews
The football star made famous in the hit film "The Blind Side" reflects on how far he has come from the circumstances of his youth.
Michael Oher is the young man at the center of the true story depicted in "The Blind Side" movie (and book) that swept up awards and accolades. Though the odds were heavily stacked against him, Michael had a burning desire deep within his sou
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Gotham Books (first published December 21st 2010)
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Darla Jackson Yes. I have a 12 year old, and I just finished the book, and I can say that it shouldn't present any problems, assuming that you are somewhat familiar…moreYes. I have a 12 year old, and I just finished the book, and I can say that it shouldn't present any problems, assuming that you are somewhat familiar with the life of Michael Oher and are willing to talk to him about some of the issues that Mr. Oher encountered, including foster care, running away, childhood neglect, parental drug use, etc. The book by no means dwells on any of those things, but reading about his experiences may raise some questions. It is definitely worthwhile and could make for a great inspiration for discussion, especially if you pair it with the Blind Side and compare how each of them portrays Mr. Oher's experiences.(less)

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Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read Michael Lewis' novel "The Blindside: Evolution of a Game a few weeks ago and while I loved the story of Michael Oher the intricate sports/strategy portion of the book left me bored and wanting more about the life of Michael Oher. Now that I have read Michael Oher's personal account I can safely say that THIS is what The Blindside should have been. Michael Lewis's account painted Michael as a dumb teenager that everyone had to poke and prod and help along to get him into the NFL. That coul ...more
Vannessa Anderson
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
… most of our parents weren’t very active in teaching us right from wrong.

When you’re a poor kid from the inner city, most people already have their minds made up about who you are and what you can or cannot do. Every time you slip up, lash out, slack off, or sulk, you’re just playing into their hands by acting like the stereotype they’ve already decided you are. Too many people have already labeled you as a bad kid in their minds, and if you curse or pout or act up, you’re just letting them th
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Michael Oher is a special person, his father left him with his mother when he was young. His mother was a drug addict. One night when his mother came home from the bar she would abuse Michael and his brothers, but that night the police showed up at their house and took Michael and his brothers away from his mother. When the kids were separated each one when to a different foster home. Every night Michael would sneak out a find his way back and go take care of his mother. Then the cops would sho ...more
Natalie Davidson
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
"I beat the odds" is about Michael Oher and how he went from living in the hood, and very poor, to an NFL star. Michael was raised by his mother and siblings into a a bad area. His mother was addicted to drugs. She would occasionally go to rehab and come back and still be addicted. Michael kept getting taken into foster care, but would escape and return home. He attended school sometimes, just to get the free lunch and to play sports. He loved to play basketball and football. One day when he was ...more
Naomi Blackburn
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the days of sleezy NFL players like Michael Vick, Ben Rothlisberger, T.O., Tank Johnson and the list goes on, Michael Oher is a breath of fresh air. His book tells the story behind the movie THE BLINDSIDE while Michael was part of the DFS system. The message is extremely positive and excellent studies are noted to give the foster care system a face. In my opinion, there is also a very positive role model message which states don't let your status in life be an excuse for making poor choices. ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you were to see a homeless kid at least six five and weighs at least 300, walking down the street wearing the same clothing he does everyday, would you have the courage to pick him up and bring him into your own house? Well, that's exactly what Leigh Anne Tuohy did in the novel The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. This book is a true story about a teenager that went from nothing to the being a professional football player all because of one person. You may have seen the movie The Blind Side and t ...more
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this memoir. Honest, upfront, and informative. I was disappointed to learn the inaccuracies of The Blind Side, though I can still, like Michael Oher, appreciate the movie strictly as a movie.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Unless you just completely don't keep up with pop culture in any way (which there's nothing wrong with), you've likely heard of the movie, The Blind Side, based on Michael Lewis's book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. Sandra Bullock won/was nominated for a variety of awards for best actress for her role in the movie. In brief, in case you aren't aware, The Blind Side, is the story of Michael Oher who went from being homeless to being adopted by the Tuohy family and ultimately overcoming his ...more
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is about a man named Michael Oher and how he developed into the NFL player he is today. First off, he had a really troubled childhood he had nine siblings and a mom ( and his mom would be there half the time because she abused drugs). So most of the time Michael and his family were moving from one friends house to another because his mom would be gone and she would come back a week or two later. He always had a difficult time in school, he never turned in his homework and would not eve ...more
Emily Driscoll
1. In the begining of the book, Michael discusses the struggles he expirenced as a child growing up in extreme poverty. Michael Oher is currently a professional football player for the Atlanta Falcons, but his life was not easy. In the begining few chapters, it goes into detail about Micheal's childhood. His mother was a struggling drug addict with more kids than she could keep track of. Many nights, she would leave all of the kids for days on end while she was off doing drugs so Michael and his ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has read The Blind Side or watched the film should also read this book. Since Michael Oher's story has been told in those other two formats, he basically presents his life story thus far in a summarized form. What is interesting is how the addition of Michael Oher's own perspective fleshes out both versions of The Blind Side. Oher's own views about poverty, social skills, education, interpersonal relationships, government assistance programs and life in the ghetto not only made me con ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried, I cried some more. I worked in childcare for a couple of years and saw several kids in foster homes and all of them were usually not as happy go lucky as the kids from normal families. They also were more likely to have behavior issues and were often not as developed due to neglect. It absolutely broke my heart to see these kids suffer from not having a stable family. While there are several foster families that are amazing, a lot of the kids are bounced from home to home and ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about an American Dream Come True. Michael Oher truly exemplifies what it means to be a decent, hardworking American. I am not a huge fan of sports, and I never saw The Blind Side; however, I am a teacher and after reading this book I realized how valuable the American Public School System is to its youth. For many children, school offers opportunities otherwise not available to them in their lives. I am so impressed by Michael Oher's incredible ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
I did not see the movie "The Blind Side," but was somewhat familiar with its premise. Mr. Oher felt he had to write this book in order to accurately explain his life, and to clear up some misconceptions about him. The strong message which he conveyed is that, despite his profound gratitude to the family who took him in, he always had the drive to succeed, to not follow the crowd, and make his own way. He felt the film portrayed him as a good deal less intelligent than he is in order to make the ...more
Jason Jenkins
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Last summer, I went to a football camp sponsored by The Boys and Girls Club. My coach, Coach Mike, asked me if I liked to read. I told him no, I’m not really into reading so he challenged me to read a book. He then gave me the book, I Beat the Odds, by my favorite football player, Michael Oher.

Michael Oher went through a lot of obstacles before making it to the NFL. Growing up in Memphis’s inner-city, Michael Oher had no relationship with his father and his mother was a jobless drug addict. Find
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I saw The Blind Side and I read the Tuohy's book, In a Heartbeat. I was thrilled when I saw that Michael was writing his own story. I love that this is his story, in his words. He shares his opinion about the film and clarifies some points that were inaccurate. One thing that bugged him was how the film made him appear dumb, especially when it came to understanding football. He'd studied and played football for years and knew the sport inside and out before he started playing at Briarcrest.

He ta
Jared Shemper
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My reflection of the book that Michael Oher wrote was very inspiring to me because he came from nothing and showed us that people in the ghetto can actually make something of themselves. They can work hard and hang out with the right people and make the right decisions that will help you succeed in life today. Michael however, mourned about how he always wanted to see his mother because the people of the foster care would never let him see her because she wasn’t able to keep children because of ...more
Allen Couch
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I Beat the Odds is a very good book and tells a lot about his life. The book tells some of his life experiences from being locked out of the house for days because his mother did not want her kids to see her using drugs, to running away from the social workers and trying to escape foster homes, and all sorts of things like that. There were a few parts of the book that I really got into. When I started reading the book I kind of expected some things at the beginning like saying how he lived in ba ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I LOVED the movie The Blind Side. Did you?

I thought I would eventually get around to reading 'The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game' by Michael Lewis but it never happened. So when I came across this book I picked it up.

I like Michael Oher.

Maybe I'm wrong but looking at his pictures and the things he has to say - there's something really sweet about him and you get a sense that he's truly NICE.

But I suspect a big chunk of the book was pieced together through the research efforts of the "contrib
Davian Ross
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story in this book is an incredible one to read about. The movie is not completely accurate in its description of his life (haha not suprised) but the book told about his struggles in life and how he came to fame. I personally am not a big football fan but this story intrigues me. Micheal Oher who this story is about had a tough early life. His parents were never there for him because his mom was a drug addict and she would never pay attention to him and his dad was always getting in trouble ...more
Gerald Kinro
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
We have heard of “The Blind Side.” I Beat the Odds,” tells the story in the author’s own words. Michael Oher was born with odds stacked against him: a dysfunctional family, poverty, a mother who constantly made bad choices such as drugs, and more poverty. He grew up as a street kid in Memphis, often not knowing where his next bed and meal would come from. Social workers did their best with the resources they had. His luck turned when he enrolled in a private school. From there he met the Touhys ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am reading this on my Sony Ereader. Downloaded from the library. I need to get back to the story.

I finished the book this morning. Yeah!
I Beat the Odds is a well written book. Michael tells about his life before he met up with the Tuohy's. He tells his story without portraying himself and his life as poor, poor pitiful me. He is honest, straightforward and forthcoming. He tells about his homelife, his siblings, his mother. Of course, it is different than the movie The Blind Side as Michael men
It must be hard for a shy, modest person to write a memoir, but Michael Oher does a good job of it. He describes his wretched childhood, his adoption into a wealthy family, and his athletic success in high school, at Ole Miss, and in the NFL.

He seems even prouder of his academic successes than his athletic ones; one of his few quibbles about The Blind Side movie is that the filmmakers portrayed him as a slow learner rather than someone who had almost no schooling until he was a teenager. (Altho
Morgan Crosman
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: third-term
I beat the odds is the inspirational true story about Michael Oher, a boy growing up in a tough Memphis ghetto, and becoming a starting left tackle for the Tennessee Titans. But life wasn't always good for Michael, growing up his mom who was a drug addict and would leave him and his siblings alone for days. Michael didn't really know his Dad, the same as his other siblings since most had different fathers. Michael found out his way out of the ghetto was basketball, where he got into a high schoo ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm listing this on my Sports shelf (among others), but it's really more about the foster care system, and how Oher beat the odds against him.

The statistics about kids in the system are dismal. Girls are six times more likely than their counterparts to give birth before age 21. Almost 50% of foster kids will become homeless after aging out. A significant percentage never finish high school.

I Beat the Odds describes not only how Oher beat the odds, but also why. He goes into great detail about h
The following quote sums up the reason Michael Oher co-authored “I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to the Blind Side and Beyond” – the profoundly touching and motivational true story of his life without Hollywood’s hype and creative liberty misgivings.

“That’s the most important lesson I want people to take from this book: You don’t have to get adopted by a rich family to make it. You don’t have to get adopted by anyone at all. You just have to have it set in your brain that you are going to ma
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well, I downloaded this book after 10pm Saturday and today at 11:31 am (Sunday) I have devoured it if that says anything! I was an easy, quick read, well written, insightful and expressive. The book covers Michael Oher's side of things and while I wasn't sure what to expect, as many of these types of celebrity tell-all books end-up being poorly written and somewhat loose in their craft, this story comes off as honest, compelling and inspiring. Read it cover to cover and loved it.The story has a ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"People like to talk about "Cinderella stories," but Cinderella didn't get her happy ending without lifting a finger. She had to show up at the ball, be charming and smooth, and win over the prince. Of course she had help along the way, but ultimately it was up to her to make the fairy-tale ending happen." -- Michael Oher, "I Beat the Odds"

An amazing story of hard work and inspiration. Mr. Oher's poignant story, previously celebrated in The Blind Side, is even more beautiful when told in his own
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I Beat the Odds was required for our high school over summer 2014. First off, this is not a book I would have picked to read myself if I had the choice. {However, I tend to be a bit picky about the books I choose to read.} I give this book five stars because of the way it touches you while reading it. You can't help but sympathize with Oher, and you take his side as you get through the book. With that being said, in my opinion, it was rather difficult to get into the book let alone through it, m ...more
Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was enjoyable to read. I read this after I read the Tuohy's book and the two combined provided a better overall idea of the story behind The Blind Side. Oher tells his life as it was, and as it is. He provides a good look at what it is like living in the ghetto, in poverty, in the foster system, with little resources and hope to get out - basically what it is like for children and adults living that way today. He doesn't want your pity, but he wants you to understand what these kids and fam ...more
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MS Lit Seminar Se...: I beat the odds 1 2 Mar 17, 2017 06:22AM  
I can't wait to read this! 7 19 Nov 01, 2012 05:25AM  
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“People like to talk about "Cinderella stories," but Cinderella didn't get her happy ending without lifting a finger. She had to show up at the ball, be charming and smooth, and win over the prince. Of course she had help along the way, but ultimately it was up to her to make the fairy-tale ending happen.” 28 likes
“Don't ever allow yourself to feel trapped by your choices. Take a look at yourself. You are a unique person created for a specific purpose. Your gifts matter. Your story matters. Your dreams matter. You matter.” 21 likes
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