When the opportunity to read and review Rudy initially presented itself, I was hesitant. I love the movie, and felt like I already knew the story pretty well. Then I thought about it, and decided it might be interesting to learn more about Rudy's experience playing for Notre Dame. I was wrong about both things. I barely knew the story at all, mostly just the essence. I also didn't learn much more about Rudy's playing days. In fact, being on the team wasn't much more than a chapter or two. Instead, I discovered a lot about Daniel Ruettiger's life. And let me tell you, it's an interesting life.
This book can be boiled down to two things: Rudy's life and Rudy's message. Rudy's message is very simple - Dream Big, and Follow Your Dreams. I can't begin to count how many times Rudy mentions some variation of this. It is his inspiration to this day. It is a worthy message, particularly when dealing with naysayers. Rudy had to constantly overcome people's negativity and telling him no, and not just about his Notre Dame dream, either.
Rudy's life is something else entirely. For anyone not familiar with the movie, he begins with his childhood, as the third of fourteen(!) children born to working class parents in Joliet, Illinois. He begins to dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the football team. But that is only part of the adventure. As details and specifics about the movie are clarified, we are also privy to Rudy's time in the Navy, his trials in trying to have his story turned into a movie, and his present trials and speaking opportunities. He also struggles with whether his message is still relevant to today's teens.
What I found interesting, and somewhat hard to believe, was his constant encounters with greatness and celebrity. I constantly pictured a real life Forrest Gump. Rudy has an uncanny knack for being in the right place to brush shoulders with the famous and powerful.
My only complaint is that there is a "golly, gee" attitude throughout the book. It may be genuine, but it got to be a little much.
All in all, I'm glad I read this book. It was entertaining and informative. I really feel like I added depth to a movie I enjoy so much. I would recommend it to fans of the movie, and anyone who likes inspirational stories.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.