Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand, Book Review

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER

‘A lacerating account … painful but necessary’ EVENING STANDARD

‘Beautiful & significant … Tackles grief with honesty’ DAWN FRENCH

‘Very important and moving book’ ALASTAIR CAMPBELL

‘A searingly honest book. So much of Rio’s emotional turmoil and deep loss resonated with me. At the same time I loved his message of hope’ GLORIA HUNNIFORD

‘Rio’s courageous story of life, loss, grief and hope’ PRIMA CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE, ‘Best of the Celebrity Crop’

Tender, heartbreaking … An extraordinary and unforgettable book. ***** HEAT

* * * * * *

‘When Rebecca died, the idea that one day I might begin to feel better would have struck me as laughable … I know how persuasive this kind of permanence thinking can be.

I know too that anyone locked in its grip will laugh if I promise them that their pain will one day ease. It will. Of course it will. But I know better than to expect anyone to believe me.’

In 2015, former England football star Rio Ferdinand suddenly and tragically lost his wife and soulmate Rebecca, aged 34, to cancer. It was a profound shock and Rio found himself struggling to cope not just with the pain of his grief, but also with his new role as both mum and dad to their three young children.

Rio’s BBC1 documentary, Being Mum and Dad, touched everyone who watched it and won huge praise for the honesty and bravery he showed in talking about his emotions and experiences. His book now shares the story of meeting, marrying and losing Rebecca, his own and the family’s grief – as well as the advice and support that get him through each day as they strive to piece themselves back together. Thinking Out Loud is written in the hope that he can inspire others struggling with loss and grief to find the help they need through this most difficult of times.

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My Review

I’ve read many celebrity and sporting autobiographies, but this was so very different. Rio Ferdinand’s book read more like a confession at times rather than the memoirs of one of the worlds top footballers.

Rio had been bought up to hide his feelings, not to talk about anything emotional and that to show feelings was a sign of weakness. This was carried on into his football career where his whole life centered on winning matches. Failure was not an option and the loss of a match was met with utter devastation.

When Rio met and married Rebecca she understood that his world of football was all-consuming, that he would miss big family occasions because he was away playing football and not always be there for herself and their children.

Rebecca accepted this lifestyle because she knew that the career of a footballer was so short lived and that the day would come when he would hang up his boots and they could reap the rewards of his dedication to the game with a lavish and privileged lifestyle. She ran the home to perfection and was a fantastic mother to their three children, happy to keep everything running smoothly, and accepting that her husband was working for the benefit of their family.

Tragically Rebecca died from cancer in 2015 leaving Rio with three children he hardly knew how to communicate with and no idea how to care for.

Rio had been unable to accept that Rebecca was terminally ill and refused to let her talk about her upcoming death, her deepest wishes, messages for her children and now the guilt was wearing away at him. Rio doesn’t just tell how things happened, but how he told the world they had happened, because he was in denial, still working and avoiding facing up to the sadly inevitable.

The autobiography is an enormously brave account and an extremely honest view of how badly he got things so wrong. From such a private, guarded and proud man, this book is truly amazing, and you can tell that it is done purely to help others avoid making the same mistakes he did.

The book shows that people can change, adapt and admit that to move on you need to show feelings and admit insecurities.

A tragic, heartbreaking book that will help so many grief-stricken people carry on after bereavement.

Rio Ferdinand also made a powerful and acclaimed documentary called ‘Being Mum and Dad’, that was aired by the BBC in 2017.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Biography

Rio Ferdinand is a former England footballer who also played football for Manchester United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time as manager. Rio played 81 times for England and in 3 World Cups, and is one of the most decorated footballers of all time.

He had his first son with Rebecca in 2006 and they married in 2009, going on to have two more children before her death in May 2015 from cancer.

Rio is now a TV football pundit for BT Sport and as well as his BBC documentary on bereavement, Being Mum and Dad, has made a short Heads Together charity film with Prince Harry on mental health. He is also working alongside Child Bereavement and Jigsaw. THINKING OUT LOUD: LOVE, GRIEF AND BEING MUM AND DAD is his brave and revealing new book.

 

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