Book review: But Seriously, John McEnroe

This was one of my favourite reads. I grew up watching John McEnroe, well sort of. I was a bit too young actually, and I basically only saw the end of his career. My parents told me that he used to shout at the umpires (that’s what the referees are called in tennis), and that he was the “super brat” of the sport. It didn’t make me less interested in him.

Being Swedish, there was another connection as well: McEnroe had some classic battles with Björn Borg. And of course the obvious one, we share the same first name. John McEnroe always felt like some sort of distant uncle. I even happened to play tennis in those days. My dad and I would get up really early, before school, and head off to a tennis court in the neighbourhood and play. Those were the days. Back to reality: This was supposed to be a book review, wasn’t it?

It’s his second book and it covers the “other half” of his career; his TV and movie appearances, art collecting and family life. I didn’t know he was knowledgeable in art, and he’s also a good guitar player as well. 

There are some hilarious moments in the book; some that almost make you crack up on the bus on your way home from work. 

I read a few other reviews of this book and the comments vary. Some say it’s almost a rip off of his first book – it apparently has the same tone and style. Well, for one, it’s a book by the same person. And it doesn’t matter anyway because I haven’t read his first book yet and wouldn’t know.  

There is a funny passage where he brings up his relationship with Borg. On page 175 he writes: “… he’s still that cool guy I’ve always known, and we hit it off as if we see each other every day. He always brings me some of his Björn Borg-branded underwear when he comes to America as well. It is both comfortable and stylish and I wear it all the time (except in bed – that would be weird).” Swedes obviously all know of his stylish underwear, everyone has owned at least one pair of Björn Borg boxers!

The book is full of funny stories, from hosting the The Late Show with David Letterman to being called in for a cameo on 30 Rock, where he was supposed to do a scene with Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. He arrives at the set, and as usual, it’s “hurry up and wait”, as he describes it. The shoot takes all day, and when it’s time for McEnroe’s scene, Alec and Steve have to hurry off – so he doesn’t even get to act with them! They thank him for coming and rush off… What the crew do then is that they use cardboard cutouts for a reference point, and edit it all back together later. It actually looks pretty good. Check out the scene on Youtube. 

If you are into sports, tennis, show business or even autobiographies in general, this is one to read. It made my commuting a lot more fun and it’s one of those books that is so easy to read. The way I like it! And not one spelling mistake as far as I can remember!

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