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This review is of the paperback book "Seve - The Official Autobiography", written by the famous golfer Seve Ballesteros. Although he sadly died in May 2011, this book was originally published in 2008. The book is 304 pages long and was published by Yellow Jersey, and there is also a Kindle version available.
The first part of the book recalls his memories of the farm on which he grew up, living in rooms above the animals which occupied the stables. It was during childhood that he became interested in golf, and he writes, "From childhood my brother and I liked golf, we'd take along an 8-iron that one of the club members had given us. We'd almost always play with stones, but occasionally we'd use real balls that we found or stole from the club".
I found this first part of the book particularly interesting, with how his interest in golf started, and also the very rural and peaceful upbringing which he had. He was close to his brothers, although they often argued, and all of his brothers that survived childhood became professional golfers in later life.
I felt that the first three chapters or so were important in explaining who the man was, because by his late teens Seve had already won his first tour event, and then in the next few years he won many other events and also The British Open and the Masters. His progress was swift, and he had an engaging character which won him many fans.
I felt that the story of how he won these titles was told in a genuine and engaging way, in a very conversational tone, and it was interesting to hear of the set-backs which he had with his playing style, which he overcame with such force and passion.
Although Seve is in places aware of his own failings, he also describes the failings of others, and when things went wrong. Of course such drama is also an interesting read, and his tales of how he argued about the money that should be paid to those taking part on the tours, and his conflicts with other players show Seve's very strong character.
I felt that although the book was interesting, it didn't improve my opinion of him, as I found it a little bit too defensive, which although understandable, did take away little from the story. I didn't really need him to be defensive, as he was one of the greatest golfers that played during recent decades, and if he did have character failings, then that just adds to the interest that people have in him.
The paperback version of the book retails for 8.99 pounds but is currently available new on Amazon for 6.38 pounds including free delivery, or second hand copies are available for just under three pounds including postage. The book's ISBN is 9780224082570, and there is also a Kindle edition available, which costs 6.06 pounds, which is disappointingly close to the cost of actually buying the physical book itself.
Overall, I found this book interesting in the way that Seve charts his golfing life, what inspired him, how important his family were to him, and the mistakes that he made along the way. He does also make clear the mistakes that he felt others were responsible for as well, but at least that helped my understanding of him as a person. It was a sad loss to golf that he died in 2011 at a relatively young age, but he did provide many people with much enjoyment, and this book is a positive testament to that.