Book Review: Quarterback Keeper
Last week, I caught some flack from both the stripper who wrote a book, Quarterback Keeper, about her romance with Michael Vick and from some readers who took issue with the fact that I excerpted the book but didn’t read the whole thing. So, fashion editor Dan Fuller stepped in. The poor soul read QK this weekend. I saw his draft growing and said, “Dan, she’s not worth it, man. She’s just not worth it.” He complained that it was not yet done, but eventually agreed, and I hit publish on it as-is. This is his review.
“From that night on, Vick would text me that he loved me, and love became a new word we openly shared with one another. He would even text the <3 symbol at the end of his text messages and later in his prison letters. Vick let me know it was love from that point and until our final conversation ever. A type of love that could last forever, even if we didn’t. Whenever we would continue to see each other I would usually have music playing, music that we both seemed to enjoy. Who would imagine that a significant football player from the streets of Virginia would be a fan of Phil Collins, and other 80’s artist?”
Consider there to be a giant “[sic.]” after that representative excerpt.
A tell-all book from the spurned lover and confidante of one of the most divisive and high profile athletes of the last 20 years. Bridges burned, the truth told, secrets exposed, intimate encounters shared from sweaty detail to sweaty detail. This should be a game changer. What if it were… boring?
Written with all of the gusto (and sentence structure) of a 7th grade book report, Quarterback Keeper offers none of these things. The author misses the point completely for a book like this: this either needs to be filled with lascivious details of their sex life, Michael Vick’s sexual habits, predilections, irrational dislikes, or it needs to use her unique access to craft a narrative that sheds more light on Vick’s state of mind not captured by NFL press conferences and interviews where his handlers can be sensed just off camera. “Here’s some facet of his personality that only I saw, and this is why he did this or that.” That’s the point of a book like this; not the author waxing (marginally) poetic about how hurt she was when things didn’t go well.
Perhaps it’s piling on, but it’s abundantly clear why this book couldn’t find a publisher. Kyle ran down the fact that it uses a huge font to fill out its 160 pages, but evident in his excerpts and left unsaid is the quality of the writing. In short, there is none. The vast majority of the sentences follow a rigid subject-verb-object pattern to the point, often with that subject being “I.” Not obvious in his excerpts is the lack of any narrative flow. The book is structured chronologically, but events are sloppily retold. In short, the common pattern used is, “I didn’t like this person because this thing happened,” written as if that event had been shared with the reader previously. The explanatory paragraph with the tone “I should probably have told you about this” follows a bit later, but any narrative tension derived from shading a new event with conflict from the past is tossed aside. Of course, the awful writing could be forgiven if it’s still telling a good story, but there is no interesting story here. The sex isn’t particularly scandalous; in short, he enjoyed having sex with her and vice versa, and when he was on the Falcons, he would have the type of crazy parties you’d hope phenomenally rich athletes in their mid-20s would throw, and they’d do a bad job sneaking around, watching other couples have sex. All of this is in the first quarter of the book (and excerpted by Kyle). Beyond that, the camera figuratively pans up, and any future encounters are summed up as “and he made me feel real good that night.”
The dog fighting reality is touched upon significantly more briefly than would be expected. He would leave the Atlanta area for Virginia for two weeks at a time, putting some member of his entourage in charge of the upkeep of his house in Georgia. She closes out the chapter with the obligatory, “I never saw him hurt an animal, and I don’t think he could ever let an animal come to harm” line, while earlier in the same chapter relating a story about how one of his pet parrots basically starved to death because the people (hangers-on, really) that were staying in his house neglected to feed it and when Vick returned, he didn’t put any thought to making sure it had been take care of. With respect to dog-fighting, his guilt is factual; she saw him let the bird be neglected to the point of death. How can the summary of the section pertaining to dog fighting end with a blanket statement that she couldn’t see him as the type of person to harm animals, when he’s letting it happen right there next to her?
Without the benefit of a professional ghostwriter, the author’s prose, if it could even be called that, is brutal. The excerpt above provides the amount of depth found in an “example conversation” in your 10th grade Spanish book.
Telling the story of the night they met when he was on the Falcons until the she ended things with him, there’s little of substance other than 160 pages of “men use love to get sex, women use sex to get love.”
A book about the leader and financier of a dog fighting ring, a star NFL quarterback, should not be boring. Quarterback Keeper is boring.