Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Pele

This entry is part 28 of 79 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to read two non-fiction books in a row, except that I haven’t because who does?

What is interesting or not interesting depending on what kind of life you’ve led is that last week’s blog was the shortest I’ve written thus far.

It was a short book, so that didn’t help, and it was non-fiction(ish) so didn’t have a plot. All things that make books harder to review.

Autobiographies, as this is but that wasn’t, are also tough ones.

I mentioned in my Clough review that usual criticisms don’t seem fair with non-fiction books. I could have a go at Clough and Pele for not writing gripping villains or hot sex scenes but their life is their life, isn’t it? So, unfair.

Instead, I am compelled to stick to more limited criteria.

Do they have an easy and interesting writing style? Are they forthright about the nastier aspects of their life? Should they be writing an autobiography at all? Or should their publishers have rejected them as they did me? For being quote “as boring as a road sign without the messaging”?

So, these are the questions I’ll be aiming to answer, but first…

Pele and Me


Pele is like Mohammed Ali, Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods.

Chances are, even if you don’t like his sport, you will know who he is.

Within the world of football, he’s a legend to the degree that English football fans still talk about him now. Even though he retired in the mid-seventies and never played in Europe.

For me, he was this figure from Brazillian footballer I didn’t know too much about beyond the obvious. That he was once an incredible footballer.

What I didn’t know, and what many people across the world have long been dying to know is, can he write an autobiography?

Luckily, that question has now been answered.

Pele: The Autobiography


Well, I say it’s been answered, but has it?

There is every chance someone interviewed Pele and ghostwrote the book for him.

Look, I don’t want to go into it. Not at the risk of destroying the legacy of one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Let’s assume he wrote it, okay?

Although he (they?!) imply the opposite in the introduction.

Whoever wrote the book, wrote it well. It’s colloquial and easy-going, as all football books should be.

It isn’t long, either, managing to cover six decades of life in fewer pages than some celebrities cover three.

But it remains insightful. Both into the life of the phenomenal footballer he was and the minister of football he became.

Sum Up


I wrote quite a bit about Bobby Moore. Things I didn’t know. Things I found interesting.

I’m not going to do that here.

The truth is you’ll likely either be interested in knowing more about Pele, or you won’t.

If you are, this book is good as autobiographies go. I gave it a 3/5 but don’t let that put you off. I enjoyed it, and I found it interesting.

If you’re a football fan and have enjoyed football biographies before, this is the book for you.

So go get it.

Next Time


This review (if you can call it a review, did I actually do any reviewing?) was longer than the Twitterature review last week, but hardly.

Hopefully next time out I can put something together worthy of your time and attention.

To do so, I have picked up The Collector, a classic described as “The first contemporary psychological thriller”.

So come back next week.

I’ll tell you what I thought.

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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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