SHAQ TALKS BACK
Shaq's new book (after Shaq and the Beanstalk) is entertaining, controversial and funny, like its author. He recounts his life story, from his childhood in Newark through winning the 2000 NBA Championship. Shaq's prose is uneven and repetitive in patches, but he writes in an authentic and likable voice throughout. Unlike other sports autobiographies, in which a co-writer essentially invents an athlete's "writing style," Shaq's words are his own—fans will recognize his distinctive, opinionated voice. The text is broken up by interludes written by important people in Shaq's life (from his mother to his personal cook). Those passages provide a change of tone and lend perspective to Shaq's story. He speaks frankly about his current and former teammates and coaches, as well as the state of the NBA and of the world in general. Some of the statements in this book could get him in trouble with his NBA colleagues, but Shaq's honesty is part of what makes him such fun to read. Though Shaq devotes a lot of the book to his life off the court (his movies, rap albums, celebrity life), there's enough basketball here to satisfy hardcore hoops junkies (fans will be especially intrigued by his analysis of last season's championship run). (Apr.)
Forecast:Shaq's appealing personality, controversial statements and celebrity should endear this candid, bold book to basketball fans. It would probably do well even without much promotion, but with a national author tour and print advertising, big sales seem virtually assured.
Release date: 04/01/2001