Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review -- Pujols: More Than The Game

For review purposes, the Booksneeze program provided me a complimentary copy of the new biography of Albert Pujols, titled Pujols: More Than A Game , authored by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth.
I finished it and it was a good read. Not great, but good. This book pulls back the curtain, as expected, and reveals some aspects of the life of this young man that I was not aware of. Many of these stories, episodes, and factoids, such as his love for his alcoholic, negligent father, are moving and inspiring. His love for the game of baseball is evident, but he manages to convey in the book that the game is 3rd place in his life, behind his love for his God and his family.

Repeatedly, we read that Pujols sees baseball as a platform for his message: the saving power of Jesus Christ, and for his three-part mission: evangelism, support for those with Down's Syndrome, and his native country of The Dominican Republic. As we read, we get transported back in time to hear about the poverty in the DR, the subsequent move to New York, a shooting witnessed by a young Pujols, a move to Kansas, and his blossoming talent through high school, junior college, and the minor leagues.

Like most biographies, this book paints its subject in a very positive, almost saintly light. But to its credit, it exposes some flaws, including some things he said he'd like to take back.

One drawback to the book, at least from the perspective of a man with a 9-year-old avid reader who's also a baseball fan, is that the story includes a take of promiscuity (not on the part of Pujols) which leads to an out-of-wedlock birth prior to a main character coming to faith in Christ.  Were it not for that one chapter, I'd let my son read it, but he's not ready. This is not a criticism or a complaint, of course. The episode is an important part of the life of Pujols, and it would be a crime to leave it out. But it's keeping me from handing this book to my youngster, and that's a shame, because there are a great many more reasons for him to read about the life of Albert Pujols than there are reasons to avoid it. Maybe in a couple of years.