The more arresting news is that Open is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete — bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily and star-spangled gratitude ... At times in Open [Agassi] seems bent on reprising the full catalog — wins and losses in Houston, Toronto and other tournament stops not even die-hard fans will care to visit ... Equally hard-won self-knowledge irradiates almost every page of Open ... The result is not just a first-rate sports memoir but a genuine bildungsroman, darkly funny yet also anguished and soulful. It confirms what Agassi’s admirers sensed from the outset, that this showboat, with his garish costumes and presumed fatuity, was not clamoring for attention but rather conducting a struggle to wrest some semblance of selfhood from the sport that threatened to devour him.
... it'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 ... the bulk of this extraordinary book 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.
... remarkable and quite unexpected volume, one that sails well past its homiletic genre into the realm of literature, a memoir whose success clearly owes not a little to a reader’s surprise in discovering that a celebrity one may have presumed to know on the basis of that haircut and a few television commercials hawking cameras via the slogan 'image is everything' emerges as a man of parts—self-aware, black-humored, eloquent ... No doubt much of the book’s immediacy and structural ingenuity, and perhaps the whole literary invention of Agassi’s mature and affecting image, are due to [Moehringer]—likewise (the persuasive simulacrum of) Agassi’s voice, his curiosity and abiding wonderment.
It's not that Open reads as if it's been written with a view to a lucrative serial deal (normal enough); it reads as if it's already a serialisation of itself with potential headlines ... Reading about [a match against Becker] is as thrilling as watching it on TV. So is the blow-by-blow recreation of the 2006 match against Baghdatis – more physically bruising than the one against Becker, but with the added appeal of mutual respect and graciousness thrown in ... For all the lurid revelations, despite the overarching story of personal growth and the struggle for self-awareness, the most enthralling parts of the book are all about… tennis.
His career-comeback tale is inspiring but even more so is another Open storyline. It could be called: The punk grows up ... Open is a superb memoir, but it hardly closes the book on an extraordinary life.
... an engaging, thrilling and only sometimes scarcely believable autobiography ... If these episodes carry the unmistakable whiff of authenticity, then others smell clearly of exaggeration on Agassi’s part that Moehringer was ill-qualified to question ... But these are minor quibbles about what is a superbly written book ... The present tense, used throughout, gives the narrative an added sense of urgency and authenticity. Although it is well written, it is formulaic in style, and as such requires a Pauline conversion, as most of these autobiographies do ... The best sports books are not really about sport — and Open is no exception.
Open does evoke some of the excitement that must have kept Agassi going, though his motivations aren’t always noble ... Open largely reads like an account of a prolonged adolescence—complete with a Hummer and a much-discussed bout of crystal-meth use—with a grown-up Agassi finally emerging at the end. Along the way there are amusing incidents ... Most athletes who write memoirs rely heavily on their co-authors, and Agassi has chosen well in the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist J.R. Moehringer, who lends the book a breezy tone, even when the subject matter is unmistakably tense.
... Open is not your typical jock-autobio fare. This literate and absorbing book is, as the title baldly states, Agassi's confessional, a wrenching chronicle of his lifelong search for identity and serenity, on and off the court ... an inspiring achievement.
... unflinching honesty and style ... By the time Agassi’s hopeful ending arrives, not only has he bared his soul like few professional athletes ever have, he’s done it with a flair and force that most professional writers can’t even pull off.
Those intrigued by Agassi’s personal life will relish the accounts of his significant romantic liaisons, particularly his obsession with and eventual wooing of current wife, Steffi Graf, and his team mentality in building a close support network. An ace of a tale about how one man found his game.