By Kathryn Flippin
Going from a life of poverty and misfortune to one full of blessings and triumphs is not an easy path to take.
Just ask Michael Oher, starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens professional football team.
Oher tells his story from growing up on the streets of Memphis, Tenn., to being adopted by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy to playing for the University of Mississippi to playing for a top NFL team, in his new autobiography “I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond.”
Oher’s story became widely known after Michael Lewis’s New York Times bestseller, “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” was turned into an Oscar-winning blockbuster movie. But while the 2009 film was an admirable portrayal of Oher’s journey from destitution to an NFL career, it was not the most accurate.
“There were some things in the movie that were the same (as the book). Some that were different. But (the movie) had such a great message,” Sue Mitchell, Oher’s tutor in high school and college, told the Commercial Appeal.
A message full of remarkable kindness and achievable hopes was indeed recognizable, but Oher said the underlying characteristics are not factual. His goal in writing the book was to clear up misconceptions.
“I felt like it portrayed me as dumb, instead of as a kid who had never had consistent academic instruction and ended up thriving once he got it,” Oher writes.
While the story of his life has been sifted through pages of numerous books, including a memoir by the Tuohys called “In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving,” it still has not been told in the first-person.
Oher said he knew it needed to happen eventually, but it was hard to dig up all his childhood memories and then portray them on printed pages. However, he said he felt compelled to tell his story and show how to overcome trials. If the memories came from him, he felt they would be more powerful.
“It wasn’t just time for me to be honest with myself about what I had been through,” Oher writes. “I owed it to all those other kids who looked at me and saw a role model.”
Oher’s book, which came out Feb. 8, has already been moving up the New York Times bestseller list and stirred support and recognition by hundreds of fans.