Dan Carter: My Story. Published by Upstart Press RRP $49.99
Oh lord. I finished this book 2 days ago and I’m still thinking about it.
Whether you’re a die-hard rugby fan looking for something to tide you over until the Super Rugby season begins, a sports fan in general or maybe just an interested kiwi, Dan Carter’s biography is a must-read.
Don’t expect to finish My Story and feel like you’ve got an in-depth understanding into the mind of one of New Zealand’s greatest sons. Quite the contrary actually. There are parts of this book that are so utterly impersonal they could be transposed into a biography of any other current All Black. Seriously. This doesn’t detract from the readability of the book at all, it just exemplifies the very limited glimpse Dan actually intended the public to have via such a long-awaited release.
There were major events described in the book that were touched upon so briefly I was left wanting more. To no avail unfortunately. The insane triumph of the All Blacks in the 2011 World Cup, with all of the injuries, substitutions and against the odds, heart-swell moments measured a mere blip. There was no mention (and I mean NO mention) of heroes Piri and Beaver, in fact it seemed the whole final faded into oblivion once Dan and his groin were out of action.
Look, I totally get that this is Carter’s biography, not that of any other All Black, but to speak in clichés, there’s no ‘I’ in team. The only time team dynamics are discussed is with regards to the Crusaders. Unbelievably absent is any mention of Dan’s relationship with Ritchie McCaw. In fact, I think our great Captain probably only warrants 7-ish cursory mentions throughout the whole book!
Surely playing alongside the most successful All Black captain of all time throughout your entire career might warrant a little exploration? They are noted as business partners and teammates but Carter never calls him ‘friend’. That status is conferred on few rugby players, Ma’a Nonu, Aaron Mauger and Conrad Smith I think are the few that are mentioned as such.
Weird right? Also very thin on details is anything specific to his wife and children, this is more understandable but a more apt title of the book might have been ‘My Injuries’ as opposed to ‘My Story’. With such a celebrated career, spanning so many insane highlights, there is definitely an ‘against the odds’ feeling to Dan’s tale which was surprising and left me feeling slightly deflated.
OK, critical book review over, My Story is still a must-read. I loved it. I’m a huge rugby/All Blacks fan so an inside look into how high performance rugby in NZ actually works was too good to go past and resulted in a book I was reluctant to put down.
Duncan Grieve has done a fantastic job, the structure is brilliant with chapters alternating between a chronological narrative and transcriptions of interviews recorded throughout Carter’s last year as an All Black. Beautifully planned and executed.