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The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James
     

The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James

3.3 16
by Scott Raab
 

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After 52 long years, the city of Cleveland finally has a new championship team, thanks to LeBron James and his Cavaliers. Scott RaabCleveland super-fan—has suffered for every one of those five decades of drought. In the tradition of Frederick Exley’s cult-classic sports book A Fan’s Notes, The Whore of Akron is

Overview

After 52 long years, the city of Cleveland finally has a new championship team, thanks to LeBron James and his Cavaliers. Scott RaabCleveland super-fan—has suffered for every one of those five decades of drought. In the tradition of Frederick Exley’s cult-classic sports book A Fan’s Notes, The Whore of Akron is Raab’s hilarious and unhinged plea for deliverance from all those years of pain. Traveling from Cleveland to Miami and back again, Raab heads out on an obsessive quest to uncover the soul of one of today’s greatest basketball players: LeBron James, the man who finally brought Cleveland out of sporting exile.

Editorial Reviews

The Onion
The Whore of Akron reads like Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes on brown acid. Raab is a bastard, but he’s a funny bastard.”
Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Raab sure-footedly turns his monolithic hatred for Mr. James and devotion to Cleveland into a vehicle for exploring his struggles with drugs and alcohol, the mental illness and abandonment that have haunted his family, questions of faith and Jewish identity and the joy of fatherhood.”
Will Blythe
“[A] splenetic wonder…For all of its rousing, air-clearing invective, The Whore of Akron is strangely celebratory, making a particuclarly Jewish-American case for family and place, and for waiting and hoping past the point of reason.”
Buzz Bissinger
The Whore of Akron is hilarious, heartfelt and wincingly honest. This is the best kind of book, one that surprises.”
Stefan Fatsis
“With all due respect to Frederick Exley, Scott Raab has just written the smartest, funniest, most passionate, loving, hateful, bathetic, honest, and deeply personal sports jeremiad slash memoir of our time…The Whore of Akron is about a basketball player the way Moby-Dick is about a whale.”
Dan Klores
“Genius. . . . . Raab is Hunter S. Thompson, Wolfe, and Breslin; every bit as messed up, alienated, angry, bitchy, cruel, and angelic. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a masterpiece.”
Philip Roth
“As far as I know, a LeBron James is a hat worn by men in the 1920s.”
Jason Gay
“Indelicate and unhinged...The Whore of Akron soars because Raab is unflinchingly honest, naked with emotions and embarrassments most of us keep penned inside.....at its heart, this is a book about loyalty, and why attachments count. Basketball could use a little more of Raab’s disorderly passion.”
Parade
“A hilarious and profane love letter to fandom, faith, loyalty, and sports in America.”
The Awl.com
The Whore of Akron isn’t really about basketball. It’s about addiction and sobriety, marriage and divorce, childhood and parenthood, loyalty and autonomy.”
Fortune
“A searing manifesto that is impressively pointed and, in the end, even feels fair—not balanced, of course, but justified. . . . . Whether you’re convinced [of LeBron’s treachery] depends not on whether you care about Cleveland sports, but if you care about sports at all. . . . . Hilarious invective and smart commentary.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Hilarious.”
Slate
“A modern-day Portnoy’s Complaint. Standing in for the piece of liver is LeBron James.”
New York Times
“A powerful storyteller in full command of his game...wonderfully immoderate.”
New York Post
“There is more passion, anger and sublime writing in Scott Raab’s The Whore of Akron than any 50 other books you’ll read this (or any other year) combined.”
Time
“[A] pleasure to read. Raab is an inspired, energetic writer. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a poignant exploration of sports fandom. It’s insane. . . . . And it’s also redeeming. . . . . After reading The Whore of Akron, you’ll be hard pressed to think sports don’t matter.”
NPR
“[The Whore of Akron] is very funny. It is also wise...If you’ve a taste for the sort of overstatement Raab shares with the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, this is perhaps the sports book for you. Keep it on a shelf the kids can’t reach.”
Sports Illustrated
“A (very heated) Fan’s Notes. . . . . Rollicking and profane. . . . . Raab’s sustained attack on James is diverting, [but] it is the author’s self-portrait of a man and a fan of serious extremes, one who loves his wife and son as fiercely as he hates most of the rest of the world, that engrosses.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“In pursuing James pre- and post-‘Decision’ . . . . the author never does complete the subtitle’s mission to find James’ soul. Instead, Raab . . . . discovers his own. And, in some twisted sense, maybe ours, too.”
Jeff MacGregor
“The book is both poem and polemic, a lyrical inventory of rage and appetite and loss.”
Publishers Weekly
Sports fandom is hard, especially in a perennially losing city like Cleveland. For a lifelong Clevelander like Raab (Real Hollywood Stories), the only hope of becoming a championship city again fell to local lad Lebron James. Raab planned to profile the superstar as he led the Cavs to an NBA Championship. Instead, the Cavs fizzled in the playoffs and James took advantage of his free agency to announce "The Decision" (a one-hour ESPN event) to play for the Miami Heat. While James was given a bigger contract and a better chance of winning rings, Cleveland fans were outraged-with Raab their loudest voice. Rather than the intended glowing profile, the book becomes a rant against greed and disloyalty as Raab follows the "soul-dead bumpkin" in his first season with Miami. Between denouncing James and cursing other Cleveland sports villains like Art Modell, Raab shares memories of childhood and battles with drug addiction. While his fanaticism is often hard to swallow, Raab raises important questions about the prerogatives of those in modern sports.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Sports Illustrated
“A (very heated) Fan’s Notes...Rollicking and profane...Raab’s sustained attack on James is diverting, [but] it is the author’s self-portrait of a man and a fan of serious extremes, one who loves his wife and son as fiercely as he hates most of the rest of the world, that engrosses.”
Time Magazine
"[A] pleasure to read. Raab is an inspired, energetic writer. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a poignant exploration of sports fandom. It’s insane. . . . . And it’s also redeeming. . . . . After reading The Whore of Akron, you’ll be hard pressed to think sports don’t matter."
Library Journal
LeBron James, basketball player nonpareil and a native of Akron, OH, signed an NBA contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, offering promise to a Rust Belt city not known for successful sports teams (its baseball, basketball, and football teams have had no world championships since a 1964 NFL championship that Raab attended). After seven seasons with no NBA titles for James, he "took his talents" to Miami in 2010 to pursue a championship with Chris Bosh, defecting from the Toronto Raptors, and Dwyane Wade. The television special in which he revealed "The Decision," and the move itself, were widely seen as flagrantly self-serving, and James's popularity took a hit in both Cleveland and throughout NBA Nation. This book is a primal scream against James, during the course of which we also learn a lot about the author—more than we learn about the player. Raab (writer at large, Esquire) writes about his morbid obesity, family difficulties, and substance abuse problems, wearing it all on his sleeve, along with his love for Cleveland, and keeping the narrative going. VERDICT Sports fans with an inclination for the offbeat will enjoy this, and the title alone should make it in demand in northern Ohio and beyond. [See Prepub Alert, 5/16/11.]—Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL
Kirkus Reviews
An embittered, lifelong Cleveland fan chronicles the painful departure of LeBron James from the Cavaliers, taking stock of his own life in the process. Among long-suffering fan bases, Cleveland sports fans can make a legitimate claim to the top spot. With no championships to celebrate since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964 (in the pre–Super Bowl era), they have suffered an ignominious procession of near misses and heartbreaking defeats in football, baseball and basketball. When James, perhaps the most physically gifted basketball player ever to grace the hardwood--and a native son from nearby Akron to boot--was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2003, all of that miserable history seemed likely to end. Unfortunately for Esquire writer Raab (Real Hollywood Stories: Inside the Minds of 20 Celebrities, With One A-list Writer, 2008) and his tortured brethren, the next seven years would bring only more pain, with James leading the Cavs to only one NBA Finals appearance, where they came up short. In the summer of 2010, the King took his talents to South Beach, and the author decided to take matters into his own hands, chronicling the now-hated icon's quest to win a championship with the Miami Heat. Raab hurls intricate helixes of epithet-laden invective at James, though each profane outburst feels less cathartic than it should (the book's title comes from one such verbal haymaker launched on Twitter). Instead, it's the author's blunt evaluation of his own life--including his battles with alcohol, drugs, weight and relationship problems--that resonates as a mirror for Cleveland's own festering decay and constant struggle. Unlike Cleveland, though, Raab can take solace in the fact that he finally found a good woman and fathered a son, championship victories denied his beloved Cleveland--that, and the fact that James failed in his first attempt to win a championship in Miami. The vitriol wears thin, but sharp writing makes this a worthwhile read for fans who know Cleveland's pain.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062066374
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
399,953
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.78(d)

What People are Saying About This

Buzz Bissinger
The Whore of Akron is hilarious, heartfelt and wincingly honest. This is the best kind of book, one that surprises.”
Philip Roth
“As far as I know, a LeBron James is a hat worn by men in the 1920s.”

Meet the Author

Scott Raab, a writer-at-large for Esquire since 1997, is a graduate of Cleveland State University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His work has been widely anthologized, including in The Best American Sports Writing. Born and bred in Cleveland, he now lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. This is his first book.

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Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One man does not make a team. One mane does not win championships! LeBron James wanted something he could not get in Cleveland and onstead of acting like mature adults everyone dumps on him. He wanted a ring. He would not get in cleveland. If the talent was there Cleveland would have been a contender without Lebron. Why was he expected to do something that nobody would ever do? Sacrifice his desire for the greed of someone else. All his haters jumped on the band wagon and drank the kool aid of those who were mad and still are because they are no longer making the money off of Lebron James' name. He worked hard for many years in Cleveland and what did he get for it? True fans are fans no matter what. Haters and leeches are a dime a dozen. Actually the true whores are those who sold their "souls" and continue to sell themselves to make a buck of others. Seems to me Lebron earns his money by working hard.
CavVet More than 1 year ago
Scott Raab is spot on with his insights as to how the latest superstar took a dump on the city of Cleveland in particular and abandoned scruples in general with his televised "decision" to take his loser soul to the promised land. Irreverently written, but no more so than is necessary to describe the feelings of the countless number of Cleveland sports fans over the age of 50 who have once known the taste of victory only to have lost that taste forever due to the antics of pompous blowhards like James, Modell, et al. Fun to read, I chuckled out loud many times while reading all 184 pages. Thank you, Scott Raab.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lebron is awesome
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Xx
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You INCREDIBLE TOOL BAGS! HOW DARE YOU INSULT THE KING? CLEVELAND SUCKED BALL SACKS! SO HE LEFT SO HE COULD GET RINGS! THE BEST PLAYERS HE HAD WER A33 YEAR OLD SHAQ AND A DUDE NAMED ZYDRUNAS ILLGAUSKAS! HE STILL HELPS OHIO! SO SHOVE YOUR IDEA THAT LEBRON SUCKS UP YOUR ASSS!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I'm not a fan of james, I find him to be incredibly overrated. To be fair, though, most of the players play for money and recognition. They might really love what they do but in the end they'll play for whichever team pays them more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a sports fan and self described "fanatic," this book is a MUST read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lebrons #1 no matter what
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lebron James is the best person in the world I dont like you insaulting him like that