A short review on the William Hill Sports Book of the Year for 2011
Not many writers are faced with the challenge of writing the biography of a close friend who decided to take his own life. Before Robert Enke stepped in front of a train on the 10th of November in 2009 he had left Ronald Reng with the task of putting into words a life, by his definition, that was simply too short. Reng challenges the biggest stigma in modern times by bringing together episodes that Enke faced in different walks of his life and how it led German footballs future number one goalkeeper down alleys where he was cornered by various bouts of depression.
Depression and professional athlete have always been socially accepted as separate entities but Reng marries the two in a reading experience that truly paves the way for the tracks of acceptance for a condition that for too long has been derailed in the minds and hearts of society.
Reng doesn’t drive his words so much as he allows the reader to feel like a passenger, riding the experience with him. By exploring avenues such as the joys of marriage, the challenges of fatherhood and the tragedy of losing a loved one along with the highs and lows of being an excited tourist travelling the world’s great cities to a lonely man missing the comforts that are so close to home, Reng takes us on a journey so heartfelt where closing the book is met with a feeling of intense sorrow that only a moments peace can sooth.
‘The tragedy of Robert Enke’ is an admirable account of a man who lost a friend he grew very close to. Robert Reng’s words breathe new life into the thinking behind the cultural miscarriage of depression and its medical significance.
I recommend everyone read this book. It leaves you with an abundant feeling of compassion, empathy and sympathy towards a man whose life was too short.