I can't tell you how many books I've read not by seeing the movie first, but by learning first of the existence of a movie. John Grisham? I heard about the film adaptation of The Firm and how it was going to be a huge blockbuster and that's when I started reading him. I've since stopped, but I stayed with him for a number of years and releases. William Diehl's Primal Fear? I saw the previews for that movie and read it before I saw Ed Norton's brilliant performance of a reasonably good novel.
My first reaction to the television previews for the film The Blind Side was not to see if I could buy it from Sony's eBookstore. It wasn't until a friend of mine, BC's own Jay Skipworth, told me it was based on the true story of Michael Oher that I went and did some research of my own. I learned that A) yes, it was available for $9.99 from the eBookstore and B) was written by the same man who wrote Moneyball.
There are two stories being told in The Blind Side and one of them is much more compelling than the other. I'm a hardcore football fan and I love to learn about the history of the game, the strategies that have won, the men who devised them, and the players who executed them. I love learning about what to watch and what to look for in a game so I can understand it in even greater depth. That said, the football history portion of this book and the Xs and Os is a lot less compelling and interesting than the human drama and the mystery of Michael Oher.
Lewis tries to connect these two threads and he does on some levels, but you don't need as much of the football tutorial to appreciate the Oher story. I found myself frustrated by the segues from one to the other. While it is interesting to learn how the left tackle position became one of the highest-paid positions in professional football and what football teams were willing to do to find someone who could play that position well, Oher's earning potential is only a small part of what makes this story interesting. Every year another athlete becomes the highest paid at his or her position or in his or her sport. The evolution that made the left tackle position is interesting for football fanatics, but the detail with which it is chronicled in The Blind Side is unnecessary for this story.