OK, so I’m not a massive snooker fan. Sure, I find the rhythmic clinking of the balls combined with the soft commentary supremely relaxing (so relaxing that it often results in an impromptu Sunday afternoon nap). And, to be fair, if Hubby is watching a tournament I’ll generally get caught up in the action enough to watch a few frames, understand whose playing well and whose playing badly and ultimately care about who wins. It’s an interesting sport in that it’s still very traditional and I guess I like that. The players still dress very formally with their shiny shoes, pressed trousers, shirts and waistcoats. But there’s also a good banter. Different players are renowned not just for different playing styles but also for their differing personalities. And there’s one man that intrigues me more than most.
Since way back when I’ve been intrigued by Ronnie O’Sullivan. He’s an enigma. Albeit a very talented and somewhat troubled one. People like that fascinate me. I want to peel back the layers of the onion and understand what’s made them the way they are, why they do what they do and what it is that makes them tick. I’ve wanted to read a book about Ronnie for so long and was delighted when I unwrapped this little beauty on Christmas Day.
The book utilises Ronnie’s love of running to propel the story and flow through a number of episodes of Ronnie’s life which would have otherwise seemed disjointed within the book. The book explains some of Ronnie’s mad moments (why he put a towel over his head when he was playing against Mark King, what happened when Ding started crying on him), some of Ronnie’s sad moments (when both of his parent’s are imprisoned, his custody battle) and some of his downright bad moments (disgracing himself on Chinese TV, the drink and drug fuelled binges). But the book also reveals the softer side to Ronnie. The side that dotes on his children, the side that enjoys volunteering at a local farm… And I guess that’s what people love about Ronnie. He’s the bad guy, done good. He’s a loveable rogue. They’re all cliches, but it’s so true. He’s an amazing snooker player and an underdog all at the same time. What’s not to love about that?
There are also some fascinating chapters about Ronnie’s recent work with sports psychiatrist, Dr Steven Peters. If you take nothing more from this book than what Steven teaches Ronnie in dealing with his inner chimp, you’re still onto a winner.
The book is an easy read and gives you a glimpse into the world of the unlikely World Champion. Whether you’re into snooker, a Ronnie fan, or just intrigued by human nature give this book a go!
Fabulous rating: 5/5