I didn't start watching Rugby until the early 00's and only know Brian Moore through passing reference and, mostly, through his commentary on BBC where he became an instant favourite of my because he is outspoken and not afraid of the repercussions when he speaks his mind, and, often, the truth.
This is not a book about his life per sé, but a collection of his memories of playing rugby and a stark confession of his childhood abuse, two things which seem to be so unconnected when you consider the writing of a sports autobiography: either it is life or the game, never one bluntly put at the beginning and the other following so quickly after. I have to commend the way this was done: it was chronological (for the most part, we'll get on to that in a bit) and it actually was a cathartic experience for Moore and an emotional one as a reader.
With sports stars writing their own book you are always going to have literacy and general layout issues: the problem with this book is that it was not edited to be a memoir and I think that style suits, though it was frustrating at times. I say that I think it suits because of the way it helps to portray that little bit more the thought-process of Moore as he writes it, something which would have been lost if it had been over edited. As a literature freak and bookworm, however, this was obviously going to irk me, but there were several reasons why I didn't let the irk get the best of me. First and foremost, Moore is no professional writer. Usually they are helped by ghost writers, and you can almost always tell if this is the case because the intimacy and depth of the memories (which is the most important factor in an autobiography, don't you think?) are true to form, as opposed to being second-hand stories that lose their meaning if a ghost writer has gotten hold of them before you have. Yes, editors will have had their wicked way with it to some extent, but as testimony to the man himself, it was at a very low level.
Another reason is the complete in-depth recounts of the most important matches of Moore's life (if you didn't know, he played Rugby for England 64 times and went on two Lions tours) and I personally was not alive or interested in Rugby at the time and find the way he retells them is as close you can get to perfection.
Another reason: it is amusing. Reading autobiographies of any kind, let alone sports stars that are not funny is probably no reason to hate them, but alas I cannot help myself. I tend to keep to comedians autobiographies because they are going to be, inevitably, funny, even when they are expressing the most intimate and perhaps deeply disturbing moments of their lives. But Moore was and is a sportsman with a sense of humour and that comes across.
If you are looking for a sports autobiography, or any autobiography, that is correct in syntax and form, you should not read this. If you want to read about England's greatest Hooker and the BBC's best commentator, then you need to read this book, if only to understand the man more and realise why he may be understated and speaks directly from the heart.