I'm Not Really Here: A Life of Two Halves by Paul Lake

Neil's picture

OK, I do like a good English football memoir. Just a pity most of them aren't very good. This one is, although the writing does struggle with cliche as is common in this genre. Paul Lake was a rising star, playing for Manchester City and on the cusp of a great future with the English national team, almost certain of a place in their 1994 World Cup campaign when he suffered that most classic football injury: a ruptured cruciate ligament. This is not always a career-ending injury, but due to a combination of careless and failed operations, poor advice, and neglectful rehabilitation, in this case it was. Lake struggled for 5 years through extreme physical pain, depression, the death of his father, and the end of his marriage before finally retiring from the game which had defined his life and character. It rises above most of these kind of memoirs because the reader cannot help but be moved by his determination and resilience. The fact that he played for Manchester City also makes it a little more interesting...