Before we review the book, we should state any bias we may have toward the author. We did the same thing with the “Killing Lincoln” review simply because no matter how hard one tries to deny it, there is always a bias to writing on subjective subjects such as whether you like or dislike something.
First, unlike many of our friends, we are not rabid fans of the University of Florida Gators. We are not a member of the Gator Nation. In fact, when it comes to rooting for college teams, we have a definite pecking order. We first root for our beloved Terps from the University of Maryland. We then root for any Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC team.) After that, to appease, to pacify, and to stay out of harm’s way, we will root for the Gators, followed by teams from the Southeastern Conference (the SEC.)
We watched Tebow play in college and were amazed and impressed with him. It was not just his football ability, it was the stories off the field as well. We always thought Tebow was an underdog to “make it in the next level” for a variety of reasons. Yet to be honest, we rooted for him. In his senior season we began to think and believe he could play in the NFL.
Luckily for us, he not only is playing in the NFL, but is making fools out of a lot of people who claimed he couldn’t.
This means from what we have seen of Tim Tebow, we like him. There is something appealing to us that is hard to quantify. Maybe it is that we wish and hope he is as nice, polite and sincere as he appears in interviews. It just may be that we are rooting for someone in the public eye not to be a phoney.
When we picked up “Through My Eyes,” there was a bit of skepticism. After all, at 24 years of age, what can he tell us? We have socks and underwear older than Tebow.
What life experiences has he had that are of interest to us?
One reviewer at Amazon.com had the same issue and in fact asked something along the lines of “isn’t a bit presumptuous for a someone so young to be writing an auto-biography?”
Which brings us to actually reviewing the book.
There has been a trend in autobiographies to be written in a tone and style as if the person was sitting in the room talking with you. We have never really enjoyed that style of writing. In our opinion, the Tebow book suffers somewhat from that conversational tone. Maybe it is because we aren’t having a conversation as there is no back and forth between two people. It is simply Tebow telling his story in his words.
Or at least that is what it purports to be.
Stylistically, as Nathan Whitaker is also listed as the author / collaborator on the book, we would have preferred more of an interaction between two people rather than a monologue. If not a dialogue, some commentary or factual setting would have been nice.
However, the book and information in contained therein is fascinating.
There are items and tidbits Tebow discloses of which we had no idea. For example, Tim Tebow is dyslexic. Not a big deal except for the way he handled it in college. As dyslexia is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Tebow was granted “time and a half” to complete written tests. If a test was scheduled for an hour, Tebow was given 90 minutes to complete the test. Tebow found he didn’t like being treated differently than other students. He didn’t like the way the extra time meant he was late for his next class. So he ditched the extra allotment of time and took the tests within the time period. He used a negative as a driving factor in his life.
Turning a negative into a positive or motivation to excel is a common theme in Tebow’s life.
The dyslexia also explains why some people said he was slow to pick up the offense in Denver. As Tebow was drafted two years ago, he has really only gone through one full training camp, and that as a non-starter. This year’s camp was cut short due to the player lockout. Even then, Tebow was not the starter. Tebow admits he learns things better by doing, rather than reading.
On the field, we have seen him progress as a quarterback because of the repetitions he is now getting rather than having to read and study a playbook.
We were surprised at how often Tebow played hurt while at Florida. A concussion, two sprained shoulders and a broken hand show how tough he really is. He is “old school” football tough.
Tebow believes in being a role model. If nothing else, that is what comes across from the book. Parents can read this and see how Tebow’s parents influenced him in this regard. This is a lesson that many parents should be teaching and kids should be learning. There is a tenderness in his beliefs of dealing with fellow human beings – a tenderness that is entirely refreshing. When Tebow talks about winning and losing, he always mentions his faults when his team loses, and his teammates greatness when they won.
In this age of “look at me!” his perception is highly refreshing.
This year Tebow has been criticized by some for his public displays of prayer before, during and after ballgames. Thankfully, he discusses this as well in his book.
For the critics who say “God doesn’t care who wins a football game,” Tebow agrees. Critics conclude that he is praying for a victory in a game when in fact he is not. What he is praying for is the ability to do his best in a way that glorifies God. If that means scoring seven touchdowns, great. If that means dealing with the press after a tough loss, that is great too. It is not the outcome for which Tebow is praying – it is how he handles that outcome.
So what’s the verdict on “Through My Eyes?”
Well, despite not particularly liking the style in which the book is written, there is great content and great inspiration to be found between the covers. If you are looking for a “look at me” or “see how great I am” book from a 24 year old, this isn’t it. This is a book written by an incredible young man who gives others the credit for who he is, and who he will become. It is a refreshing look at one who many consider a roll model.
The style issue costs it a star in our view, leaving the overall impression of “Through My Eyes” a solid four stars out of five.
If you go into this book hating Tebow, in all likelihood nothing he says or does is going to change your mind about him. If you are neutral or “pro-Tebow,” we believe you will find more to like about him, and at the same time, find something in his words to inspire you in your life as well.