Driven

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Review #21: Non-fiction

Blogging for Books #4

Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field by Donald Driver

9780385349161

I was really excited to read Donald Driver’s book. I’m a die-hard Packer fan and have loved Driver and his contribution to the Green Bay Packers from the moment I became a fan (which I think is required at birth when you’re born in Green Bay.) I was looking forward to reading about Driver’s time in Green Bay, specifically his journey to, and victory in, Super Bowl XLV in the 2010 season. I was also interested to read about where Donald came from, how he found his way to the NFL and started and retired as a Green Bay Packer. This book covers all of that, and also some of what Donald has done since leaving the NFL, his charity (the Donald Driver Foundation), and  his season on Dancing with the Stars.No matter what, I think I would have enjoyed this book, since Donald Driver is someone who I’m interested in, however, that aside, the writing wasn’t my favorite.

I know that Driver had a writing partner or two, who he mentions in his acknowledgements, but I think even without knowing this, I would have been able to tell that the stories weren’t coming directly from Driver 100% of the time. In many areas, the flow seemed off, some sentences were more technical and less personal than other sections of the book; the more personal and relatable language and writing coming from the sections I assume were mostly in Driver’s writing voice. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, some people may not even be able to tell, though I think most will. I don’t mind having other writers help on these kinds of projects, but that’s not the point; when I stop after reading a sentence and think, “That felt out of place,” it becomes a problem with readability.

The sections of the book that cover Driver’s time in the NFL and his season on Dancing with the Stars were the easiest to read and follow. Though interesting, and definitely inspiring, I thought the sections where Driver described his childhood were disjointed and sporadic. It started out more chronologically, though soon became like a collection of side stories and tangents. It became a stream of consciousness style story, which adds personality for sure, but also confused me along the way.

I was most interested in Driver’s time with the Packers, and that section was great. Some stories were before my time as a fan, which was really interesting to read about. Driver was with the Packers his whole NFL career, and when he was drafted, he had no idea who the Packers really were as a team, or where Green Bay even was. It was great to see his transformation from his childhood into adulthood; and then his attitude change from being drafted later than he wanted to be to a team he didn’t know, to loving the team, the city, and its fans. He had an incredible journey from his childhood to where he is now, from being homeless and enduring the struggles of living on the street to being able to give back and help people in those same situations with his own charities.

He talks a lot about his family and what they’ve meant to him over the years and how they’ve always stuck together no matter what. He also speaks about how important his education was to him, and how playing football professionally wasn’t originally his plan, but how blessed he felt to have taken the path he has.

Overall a good read about a really interesting guy, and an inspiration to young kids in tough situations in life. It was very honest and personal which is great to see from a memoir like this. He could have written about how happy he was to be drafted to Green Bay, but instead was honest about his disappointment at not being taken earlier by a different team. And he was open about his change of heart and his progress with the team and as a person. Some writing issues aside, it’s a good read that I would recommend to football fans and definitely Packer fans.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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