Thursday, May 1, 2008

THE BLIND SIDE by Michael Lewis

The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis, is primarily a biography of projected future NFL first-round draft pick Michael Oher and secondarily a history of the evolution of the left tackle position in the NFL.

Lewis chronicles how Oher, who bounced around as a child and never learned to learn, was taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family, how they helped him to learn and to play football, and how he went on to start at Ole Miss. Lewis does an excellent job communicating the characters’ personalities to the reader, particularly Oher’s.

Interspersed throughout the book are historical anecdotes about the evolution of the left tackle position. Lewis gives particular attention to Lawrence Taylor and the shift to fast, destructive pass rushers, and to Bill Walsh, who was one of the first coaches to emphasize protection of the quarterback’s blind side.

While Lewis tells a very interesting story, his writing style has its flaws. He jumps around quite a bit, which is almost as distracting (he just does it one too many times) as the sentence fragments he loves to sprinkle in. Lewis also uses the wrong word a few times. He mixes up “insure” and “ensure.” He calls linemen “ectomorphs” (ectomorphs have slender builds). The copy editor for this book was asleep at the switch.

On the whole, this is an interesting and entertaining book about a likeable young man, and a good recap of a major strategic shift in the NFL.