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Coming Back Stronger

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The Advocate

Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees

Reviewed by Marshall Hughes

"This book would be good as a present to a football fan looking for a hero and a warm, feel-good story."

Fresh off leading his New Orleans Saints to the 2010 Super Bowl championship, quarterback Drew Brees uses the stories of the adversity from his life and from the lives of Hurricane Katrina victims to encourage readers to persevere through life’s storms, or in this case hurricanes, in this light-read autobiography.

The adversities Brees discusses mostly have to do with his dysfunctional family as a youth, his football injuries, and the well-documented tribulations of New Orleans’ residents since the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Top-level athletes often find an enemy around every corner to motivate themselves, but Brees finds his enemies not in people but in situations. Little-recruited out of high school after suffering a torn ACL, the smallish (6’0”) quarterback chose Purdue over Kentucky and Brown and worked nonstop to rehabilitate his knee.

Then, after being chosen in the second round of the NFL draft and having a few years of moderate success in San Diego, Brees got injured again and was dropped by the Chargers, a low point in his life. He had a wife, a bum shoulder and no NFL contract.

He eventually signed with New Orleans, and his rehabilitation as an NFL player coincided with that of New Orleans as a city. It culminated in his leading the Saints to the 2010 Super Bowl title, their first ever title.

This isn’t an in-your-face Christian tome. Rarely in the first almost 85 pages does Brees even mention his faith at all, other than the time as a 16-year-old when he realized while listening to a church sermon that he wanted to be “one of God’s few good men.” His thoughts of the Christian life and his philosophies are lightly scattered throughout the book. He says, “Experience is what you gain when you don’t get what you want.”

Those hoping for a hard-hitting, turn-or-burn Christian message will be disappointed, but for those looking for an inspiring, never-give-up message mixed with Christian underpinnings will be pleased. Of course, being a football fan would be a help, too. This book would be good as a present to a football fan looking for a hero and a warm, feel-good story.

A portion of the royalties from this book go towards the Brees Dream Foundation, a charitable organization that gives money to cancer research and provides education, care and opportunities for needy children.

Marshall HughesMarshall Hughes is a former sports writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. For most of the past 22 years he has taught English in Japan. He has taught at the university level in America, Japan and China. Among his hobbies are sports, traveling and photography. He has been to 41 countries and is always hoping to go somewhere new. He is an award-winning photographer in both Japan and America. His bi-lines include The Washington Post, The Pacific Daily News (Guam), The Contra Costa Times and several sports publications.