Friday, September 4, 2009
Ten Points, by Bill Strickland Book Review
Well I just finished Ten Points by Bill Strickland, and I gotta say, this was quite a book. I had checked it out from the library several weeks ago, along with some other books, and unfortunately didn't get to it before the due date. So, about a week ago, I went back and got it. I'm sure glad I did, I think.
This is one of those books that leaves you with a lot of different emotions and an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. I have to commend Bill Strickland for taking the chance he took with writing this book. He opened up the dark closet of his childhood and allowed some nasty skeletons to come out. I imagine those skeletons haunted Bill quite a bit while writing this book, but at the same time, I get the feeling the he tamed them quite a bit.
The book is a story about cycling, fatherhood, abuse, and life in general. Bill writes about the weekly Crit Series in his hometown that he races in each week. After promising his daughter Natalie that he will score 10 points that season, he sets out on his quest to do so. As he takes the reader along for the ride, he tells the haunting story of his childhood and the abuse he endured under the hand of his father. It's quite a dark journey that he went through, the kind of journey that no child should ever have to take. Enduring things that no child should ever have to endure, Bill grows up fighting a constant battle to not become his father, to not become a "Strickland".
Bill's description of the weekly races put you right there, as if you are riding on Bill's handle bars, they way you did as a kid. You can almost smell the sweat of the racers and feel the rain as it pours down on the streets. You can hear the chains and the gears clicking, and you might even feel your heart rate rise as if you are right there in the pack, chasing down a breakaway looking to score a point.
I must admit, there were times that my stomach turned and I wanted to put the book down, but I couldn't. I wanted badly to get to the end to see that Bill came out okay. Bill's story is an important one that every person can benefit from. Whether you race bikes, or just ride for pleasure, whether you are a father, or you will be one some day, this book tells a story of how the human spirit can survive and be stronger in the end.
I am grateful for men like Bill Strickland and their willingness to share their deepest and darkest secrets. As a father, a husband, and a cyclist, I can look up to men like Bill and know that we can all learn to tame our demons. We can all learn to allow the good parts to outshine the bad. This book scored 10 points and is a book that every man should read.
Bill Strickland was the editor of Bicycle magazine, and still contributes to it. He also has a couple of blogs that can be found in my blog list on the right side of the page. Sitting In, and Bill Strickland. If you are interested in a copy of this book, please consider clicking on the link on the right side and purchasing it from Amazon. Thanks for reading!