From the word ‘go’, Darren Barker’s autobiography, carefully sculptured by Ian Ridley, immerses you into a pool of harsh reality, honesty and sincerity.
Ridley, a very successful author, instantly grabs your attention by providing a touching and revealing introduction about himself, which gives the reader an understanding about why he might have a level of empathy with Barker.
In fact, a key word throughout the whole book was ‘empathy’. If not simply from Ridley’s perspective, then certainly from acclaimed trainer Tony Simms, who’s dialogue at times is just as heart wrenching as Barker’s. For the average reader, I challenge you to find a common platform not to be able to associate yourself with Barker’s journey to date. I certainly was able to relate to the hip injuries, having practiced karate for 14 years and then one day, at the age of 27, being told my hip sockets did not match the shape of the bone. That was 16 years ago, but reading Barker’s journey, at a much higher level, made it that much more poignant, especially with what was at stake for him. There’s a number of other examples I could give, including my girlfriend losing her brother in a car crash about the same age Barker lost Gary, but I think you get the gist.
Whatever you have experienced in life, this book has a little something for everyone and a lot of something for anyone with a big passion for the pugilistic art form. Delving into Barker’s famous fight career, you will be propelled into the physical and psychological experience of what it takes to pick yourself up of the canvas and claim the greatest boxing prize on the planet.
Highly recommended this.