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Andre Agassi: what the critics say about "Open"

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You might or might not like Andre Agassi and you might or might not be able to forgive him for lying about his use of crystal meth. But there seems to be one point on which book critics will be able to agree: When it comes to his memoir, Agassi displayed great taste in his choice of ghostwriter.

"Open: An Autobiography" sports Agassi's own name on the cover. However, the ghostwriter  behind the scenes was J.R. Moehringer, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "The Tender Bar," an acclaimed memoir of his own.

Moehringer's name is not on the cover of "Open" (according to Janet Maslin, who reviewed "Open" for the New York Times, Agassi offered to share marquee credit with Moehringer but he declined). Maslin, however, is quick to heap praise on the man behind the scenes. "The ease with which Mr. Moehringer slips into telling someone else’s story is both consummate and spooky," she writes.

Michael Mewshaw, reviewing "Open" for the Washington Post, offers credit to Agassi as well. "[I]t's both astonishing and a pleasure to report that Andre Agassi, who was castigated for an ad campaign saying 'Image is everything,' has produced an honest, substantive, insightful autobiography," Mershaw writes.

But Mewshaw too closes his review by considering some of the "inspired choices" that Agassi has made later in life. Right up there with marrying Steffi Graf, says Mewshaw, was "finding a terrific ghostwriter."

According to Mewshaw, "Open" is "extraordinary," a book that "vividly recounts a lost childhood, a Dickensian adolescence and a chaotic struggle in adulthood to establish an identity that doesn't depend on alcohol, drugs or the machinations of PR."


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