The Blind Side: By Michael Lewis

The Blind Side is an exceptional read. Lewis tells a great story of a young African American kid who is adopted by a wealthy Memphis family, literally saved from the ghetto, and nurtured by a loving father and mother and two siblings who help him become the best person he can be. It's a testament to how much influence an environment can have on a young person. There are trials on the way with his grade problems, a car accident and a brutal fight at Ole Miss, where he plays college football, but Oher is a sympathetic character. His IQ is 80, but his dad and mom figure out a way to get him through high school and help him qualify for college so he can play  college football. He is an incredible left tackle and buries people in high school games; a truly dominant player. He plays well at Ole Miss and  is now a rookie with the Baltimore Ravens. He just signed a 13 million dollar, five-year contract, so his adopted parents nurturing and belief in him made him a successful person. His recruitment by college coaches is a very interesting part of the book. Good stuff on Nick Saban.

It's also the story of the evolution of the left tackle in the NFL. The need started with the inability of the left tackle to block Lawrence Taylor. Taylor was the inspiration for bringing in players who could protect the quarterback's "Blind Side." He was described as the most dominant defensive player ever. The book opens with Taylor breaking Joe Theisman's leg and finishing his career.

It's a moving, powerful story. There are a couple of factual mistakes. Lewis writes that the 49ers defeated the Vikings in a playoff game, 38-24, on Jan. 3, 1981, when actually it was Jan. 3, 1982, which was Joe Montana and the 49ers' first Super Bowl victory year. Also, he wrote that Nashville is a six hour drive from Memphis, when, in fact, it is only three hours.

Otherwise, the book was terrific; an easy, interesting read. Maybe my favorite line in the whole book is at the end when a reporter interviews Dwight Freeney, defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts, who says of Oher when he finds out he's coming into the league: "You tell Michael Oher I'll be waiting for him."

 I highly recommend it along with A Man of Character.