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Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Unstoppable by Anthony Robles with Austin Murphy

I don’t know how I ended up watching the 2011 ESPN ESPY Awards, as it is so not my kind of show. Most likely it was a marital accident. In any case, I happened to see wrestler Anthony Robles win the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Jay Leno presented the award to Robles, who also won an ESPY for best male athlete with a disability. I knew nothing of wrestling at any level and had never heard of Anthony, but his acceptance speech left a lasting impression. When I saw this review copy, I remembered the speech and wanted to know this guy’s story, which is how I ended up reading a sports book. So not my kind of book.

Anthony Robles is a three-time all-American wrestler, a graduate of Arizona State University, and the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Champion. This past June, Robles was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame where he was awarded the Medal of Courage. Did I mention he was born with just one leg? Missing a limb should be a huge disadvantage to a wrestler where balance is the key to success on the mat. It is just one adversity Robles conquered on his way to becoming a nationally recognized role model and motivational speaker.

Judy, Anthony’s Mom, was only 16 when Anthony was born. The rest of the world saw him as a special needs child; however Judy never did. His birth father wasn’t part of their life. Anthony’s step-father was in and out, and in a paradox, his negative influence contributed positively to the man Anthony has become. Coaches and other wrestlers certainly had a huge impact on Anthony’s development and success. But it’s his Mom’s tenacity and support which led Anthony to believe he can do anything.

I was surprised to learn, like another high-profile, former collegiate-athlete, Anthony is a Christian. Many might say God left Anthony down; however Anthony believes the Creator sent him into this world with an odd number of limbs for a reason. It certainly has not slowed him down.

This book includes a lot of wrestling details about training, moves, matches, and competing athletes. With no prior wrestling knowledge, I learned plenty about the sport, but the real interest for me is Anthony and his perseverance. Plus, let’s be honest. Have you seen him? His smile? Unstoppable? More like irresistible.

The title Unstoppable is from the poem Anthony recited at the ESPYs and also refers to his incredible outlook on life. This autobiography was written with Austin Murphy, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and includes a foreward by Jay Leno. High school students to adults, sports fans and non-fans will be interested in this selection.

My only criticism of the book is there could have been some tighter editing; however overall the story is so interesting I still recommend it. Leno provided one of my favorite quotes from the book saying, “Anthony was born with only one leg, and that should matter to you, even if it never really mattered to him.” So true.

-Roni

To learn more about this title, visit http://bit.ly/TFJFuc

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