Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: The Test of My Life by Yuvraj Singh

On the jacket:

A personal account of Yuvraj Singh’s journey through cancer with the 2011 World Cup victory in the background‘

That day I cried like a baby not because I feared what cancer would do but because I didn’t want the disease. I wanted my life to be normal, which it could not be.’

For the first time Yuvraj Singh tells the real story behind the 2011 World Cup when on-the-field triumph hid his increasingly puzzling health problems and worrying illnesses. In his debut book The test of my life, he reveals how—plagued with insomnia, coughing fits that left him vomiting blood, and an inability to eat—he made a deal with God. On the night before the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final, Yuvraj prayed for the World Cup in return for anything God wanted. In this book, he lays bare his fears, doubts, and the lows he experienced during chemotherapy— when he lost his energy, his appetite, and his hair—and his battle to find the will to survive. Poignant, personal, and moving—The test of my life—is about cancer and cricket; but more importantly, it is about the human will to fight adversity and triumph despite all odds.


This was one book I really wanted to read. Why, you ask? Other survivors have written books before, then why this? Probably because I had been tested (just tested) for lung cancer in my mid-20s Yuvi was, when he was tested. And probably because the tumour that was finally diagnosed, was similar to what my father had succumbed too, even it's position was the same. Probably, because waiting for the test results I too had thought, "These things happen to old people, I am young." Probably because all said and done, I am hoping to hold on to whatever positive energies I can get from the book.

So when the book arrived for review, I was elated. Now keeping all my emotions aside, let me tell you about the book.

Not a very high standard of editing, but that is what made the read so good. Yuvraj reached out to the reader through the simple language used in the book, it was all very conversational. The 3-4 hours that I took to read the book, I felt I was sitting in front of him and he was talking to me. 

The book is a mix of a memoir of his fight with cancer and an autobiography. It talks about his childhood, how he started playing, his routines, his father being a tyrant in his life - pushing him to better his performance on the cricket ground, the relationship between his parents and his childhood in general. There are strong traces of anger towards his father, for the times when he was forced to practice cricket against his will.

What came across strongly is how Yuvraj has mentioned only his father during his growing up days, i.e. during his cricket practice days and later when he was  fighting cancer, only his mother was by his side. His friends and team mates were his strength apart from his mother; but the book has no mention of his father or brother offering their support. 

The book has a detailed mention of his chemotherapy and treatment in general. Those who have never witnessed the procedures might find these bits boring, but if you or your loved ones have lived through this trauma ... you will relive it all.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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