Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself.
This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something that might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. The only place where he could find any refuge from the pain and guilt of the lie he was living was on the pitch, playing the sport he loved. But all his success didn’t make the strain of hiding who he really was go away. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge.
The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective. Gareth’s inspiring and moving story transcends the world of sport to tell a universal truth about feeling like an outsider, and facing up to who you really are.
Being Welsh this was ready to relate to. Many of the locations mentioned were placed I grew up visiting and staying at.
I can't say I'm a rugby fan or highly sensitive to the issues he suffered by doing what he did.
But I would highly recommend reading this whatever your into.
This is an honest account of a sportsman's turmoil and triumphs. Enjoyed it a lot.
The book was extremely well written. I question some of the story line though. I had known Gareth for a brief several years before and during his struggle with his sexuality and coming out. I think he left out some very poignant and important parts of his journey that would have given his story more of a overall human interest factor. I look forward to his second book. Hopefully, it will cover more of his personal life encounters and struggles he experienced outside of his professional life. There were very profound relationships he had, that also played a role in his development.
I enjoyed reading his book, but there is way more to his story.
Congratulations Gareth on your contribution to making this world a better place.
Great story with great insight into professional sports, the highs, the lows and gives you the realisation that athletes are but first, normal human beings.
I'm not a rugby fan, and I'd never even heard of Gareth Thomas. I was intrigued by the theme of the book and the man on the cover. It's the story of a man who repressed his sexuality, while playing hard to stay hidden in plain sight, on the demanding playing field of life in Wales - where a man had better be a man. Growing up at a time when being gay was unacceptable, he fought on the rugby field, and inside his mind. Playing the game he loved, but maybe didn't quite fit. It's a moving and well written story of the ravages that can come from having to hide your true identity, and struggle to live a lie. Not only psychologically for the first person singular, but for those whose life he touches and entwines with.
The book relays his whole story, the trials, the pain, the triumphs, and does so in a way that is personal and quite captivating. I was always looking forward to getting my headphones back on to listen to more of his story.
I think Thomas captured the emotional side of his struggle in this book, and is an inspiration for others who deal with the insecurity of who they really are. He explains not only what he was up against, but why. The intricacies of how his self image affected his place in the world, why he was driven to hide his identity, and his drive to not only prove himself, but overcome the exhausting burden of living a dual life. Particularly in the über-macho world of professional sports, and specifically in the demanding world of the rugby field. Quite a difficult feat, which took so much of his personal and spiritual energy.
He spends considerable time going into details about how his choices affected others, and his later efforts to repair the damage he'd done by trying to be someone else.
In the end, I think he manages to overcome much of the stigma and fear, and become whole, while realizing the struggle never really ends completely.
It's an inspirational story that hopefully will help to give others the freedom to be who they are, without the damaging struggle that Thomas suffered.
I really enjoyed this book. As a rugby fanatic who has played the game for more than 20 years I'm sorry to say that I would have been one of those lads throwing homophobic comments around the changing room like confetti. I look back now, having listened to this brutally honest account and think to myself how small minded I was. As Gareth says it's about educating people now. Would recommend it as one of the best sporting autobiographies I've read (or heard!)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A must listen to book not only for those identifying as LGBT or struggling with their identity but for everyone to get a glimpse into the silent struggles so many face. An incredibly honest book.
Heart struck, powerful, emotional and extremely well written. Read wonderfully well made it a gripping listen. Great for rugby fans and non rugby followers alike.
Being a gay man and not coming out until my mid thirties I felt every word. The thoughts of suicide etc. And i am just your average Joe not a proffesional sports man. loved it to bits...
Pleasantly surprised by honesty shown by Alfie in this fantastic book! Loved the diversity and historical references would be enjoyed by non rugby fans as well - great job Alfie butt!! Not bad for Sarn lad eh?
Would you listen to Proud: My Autobiography again? Why?
For Gareth to find the courage to tell his story without holding anything back and to find out that he has found happiness is a wonderful thing.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I felt I went through the emotions with him while he told his story!
5 star listen. Brilliantly written. A real opening up of one mans life experiences, the ups and the downs. Beautiful listen
This is a sometimes painfully honest account of Gareth Thomas' journey. Well worth a listen
So amazingly proud So amazingly proud So amazingly proud So amazingly proud So amazingly proud Brilliant so proud to Welsh and honoured to hAve watch such a legend on the pitch
Entertaining rugby anecdotes and some heart wrenching personal paths trodden. A brave man living in a, thankfully, more enlightened time.