Death on a football pitch

Review of I’m Still Standing (Fabrice Muamba)

Sourced from Goodreads

Fabrice Muamba united a sport. On 17 March 2012, Muamba died on a football pitch. Within hours, hundreds, thousands of fans from all over the world sent their support, from Barcelona to Bolton. For a few days, football was united over a common cause: praying for Muamba.

Shown here is the immediate reaction to Muamba’s death (though it is quite long), and the immediate unification of both sets of supporters and staff.

I’m Still Standing is Muamba’s account of the experience, from his father being persecuted by the enemies of a previous president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mobutu, to Muamba’s return to White Hart Lane, the scene of his collapse.

Muamba has a unique claim: he brought together religion and sport. Through his cardiac arrest, and his 78 minute dead phase, he led hundreds of thousands of people worldwide into praying, which is well summed up in a Twitter post of Kyle Walker, a fellow footballer:

Doesn’t matter who you support. Doesn’t matter if you are a football fan. Doesn’t matter if you are religious. Pray for Fabrice Muamba”.

This incident likely inspired thousands worldwide to pray, despite differences, everyone was united with one purpose: begging God to spare this young man. The fact that it happened in the age of social media undoubtedly massively increased attention, coming from all aspects of the globe.

However, in the introduction, it is stated that the book was written in five weeks. This shows a little in the layout of the book, which takes a few chapters to get used to: it alternates every one or two chapters between Muamba’s situation upon collapse, on pitch, and then in hospital; and his life in Congo, and his father’s forced flight. However, although this gets Muamba’s story across, it has a jumbled, muddled feel for the reader.

This is a book which, although has an awkward method of writing, gets Muamba’s story across, and, once a few chapters in, this is a very good read about one man’s bravery, and the world’s support. It is an extraordinary story about an extraordinary man who survived-and recovered from-a cardiac arrest live in front of thousands of people.

Price-£9.09 paperback ($9.81)

£6.99 Kindle ($11.25)

Publishing house-Trinity Mirror Sport Media

Publishing date-4 November 2012

Value for money-about average, if a little on the steep side-★★★

Narrative voice-a little confusing, but good-★★★★

Readability-despite the somewhat odd layout, it was compelling stuff, you just had to find out what happened to Muamba and how he recovered-★★★★★

Overall-a gripping and much recommended read-★★★★½

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