Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book of the Week: Victor Cruz's "Out of the Blue"

Expelled from college twice for academic reasons unlikely NFL star Victor recounts his journey to salsa dance fame in "Out of the blue”.  Cruz shares his personal experiences from living above a bodega and Tae kwon do studio in Patterson, New Jersey to playing in the 2012 Super Bowl game, and Peter Schrager assists him in constructing them into a narrative that is both believable and interesting.  

Surprisingly this autobiography is delightfully lacking in self-indulgence as Cruz does not blame his humble upbringing for the many mistakes he made throughout his journey. The New York Giants wide receiver details his tales of misguided arrogance and academic strife without excuses.  He acknowledges his dissents into the many pitfalls for a student athlete with an earnestness that is refreshing.

While Cruz does speak actively of his own determination to avoid succumbing to defeat he does not fail to shed light on the community that thrust him into success. His family, friends, mentors, and the various roles they played in his life are all highlighted. And the charming story of how he met and fell in love with, his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his only child, Elaina Watley is relayed with a hilarious lack of shame (Cruz admits Watley’s resemblance to model Kimora Lee Simmons played a huge role in his attraction to her).

"Out of Blue” is a tale of hard work and setbacks. Cruz and Schrager derail accusations that the wide receiver appeared “out of nowhere” with every chapter by providing the reader with his very vivid background. Those who aren't all that enamored with sports might be tempted to bypass this story but it is definitely a must read.

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