I love a good novel and have to push myself to read more nonfiction. My chief complaint is that nonfiction is often boring. However, every once in awhile a biography or autobiography really moves me and I find myself raving about it to anyone who will listen. C. Vivian Stringer's Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph is one of those books.
Stringer is the head coach of the Rutgers University women's basketball team. That is what got me to pick this book up, as my husband, my three brothers, many of my friends, and I all graduated from Rutgers and have an interest in Rutgers athletics. I'm assuming many people will read it to find out more about the controversy sparked by radio personality Don Imus's negative comments about the team. Stringer does cover that incident, but this book has so much more. What an inspirational life she has led!
With dignity and quiet humor, Stringer writes about the tragedies in her life, including her fourteen month old baby daughter's spinal meningitis which made it impossible for her to walk or speak again, the death of Stringer's beloved husband of a heart attack in 1991, and her own battle against breast cancer. At the same time, Stringer writes of her professional triumphs (bringing two different teams to a National Championship tournament), and personal ones such as her strong marriage and the love and support of her family and friends.
Stringer admits mistakes she has made in her life and extolls the importance of hard work, education, and a can do attitude. It is a fantastic choice for a teenager or young adult, even one who has no interest in basketball.