3 out of 4 stars
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You Can’t Do That! Yes I Can! is an inspiring memoir by former NFL player, actor, singer, composer and animated film producer Michael Attardi.
Michael was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He, his two sisters, Michelle and Francine, and their parents Michael Sr. and Frances lived in Westwood Manor with Michael’s maternal grandparents. He had an exciting, colorful and adventure filled childhood complete with youthful mischief and indiscretions that he defied death two times already even before he turned twenty three.
When Michael was five, he underwent a surgery to have his tonsils removed. The surgery left Michael with speech impediment that caused him to be bullied and laughed at. His stuttering was so bad that his guidance counselor decided he would never go to college when he could hardly communicate with people. He proved her wrong when he passed the audition and played the role of Tin Man in the musical The Wiz.
In his sophomore year, Michael, weighing 145 pounds, was told that he would never play football in college. He gained 30 pounds of muscle in a year and was kicking 50-yard field goals in practice. He played varsity football in Long Branch, in Kutztown University, Montclair State University and finally the NFL kicking for the Los Angeles Raiders.
With Afterword by Steve Ortmayer, former General Manager of the LA Raiders and Michael Broggie, award winning author of Walt Disney’s Railroad Story, this is an inspiring and almost fantastical book about someone who proved to the world that no one can tell him he can’t do something. Michael Attardi, for me, is an epitome of success not because of his accomplishments in sports, in the performing arts or the animation film production but because of hard work, patience, perseverance and persistence. When he was met with failure, he faced it head on and moved on.
Unlike other books about ‘rising above adversity’ which usually focus on the adversity, this book focuses more on the positive things. The author shares the fun and excitement of his childhood, the feeling of elation after a successful performance and the magical feeling of meeting people he never dreamed of meeting like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks.
What I like most about the book is the author’s effusive and sincere expression of gratitude to people who helped him in his careers and his appreciation for the opportunity of meeting and working with talented, hardworking and kind people. I think that is an admirable attitude, counting the blessings instead of complaining about the hardships.
The most important part of the book, for me, is the emphasis on perseverance, the attitude of ‘not giving up’ and ‘giving it all you got’ because that is exactly what the author did and, I believe, still does.
However, aside from several noticeable errors within the entire book which are mostly typos, I find the timeline a bit confusing and difficult to follow.
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is a very inspiring book with uplifting almost fantastical stories about the author’s encounter with famous people in Sports, Hollywood and Music and Filmmaking. I recommend it to readers who enjoy books about rising above adversity.
You Can't do that! Yes I Can!
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