I’ve Been Working

Hard Work: A Life On and Off the Court by Roy Williams with Tim Crothers

I am one of the few students who ever attended the University of North Carolina and never drank a beer.

This would be a fine gift for the college basketball fan who always roots for the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels over Duke.   In Hard Work, Coach Roy Williams comes off a national championship season to tell the story of his life.   Williams is portrayed as extremely likeable and modest, if far too much of a Goody Two Shoes.   It may be hard for someone to relate to a person as focused as Williams has been his entire life.   Since high school he had only one goal: to be a sports coach.   Interestingly, he tells us of his motivation as a young man whose father deserted the family when he was eleven, “I saw coaching basketball as a way to give some kids the father figure I never had.”

The fault with Hard Work, as with most “as told to…” autobiographies, is that Williams’ personality never quite manages to land within its pages.   It reads like something that might have been scripted by an adoring UNC student, although all in all it’s far from being a bad tale.   This reader, however, would prefer to read a self-penned autobiography that contains a few grammatical errors yet retains the voice of the person whose story is being told.   Something is lost in translation when a professional writer has to select the words of a subject’s life story.

Algonquin Books, $24.95, 288 pages

Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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