|The Spirit of Pong by Larry Hodges|
Andy "Shoes" Blue wants to be a table tennis champion, but he’s just another wannabe American. And so he goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis. He is trained by the mysterious Coach Wang, and begins an odyssey where he learns the secrets of table tennis from the spirits of Ichiro Ogimura (who helped spawn China’s greatness), Rong Guotuan (China’s first world champion in 1959, whose tragic story Andy must relive), and others, and must face the mysterious "Dragon." Can he overcome treachery and learn the final secret of table tennis in time to defeat his ultimate nemesis?
The book really related well to me as a reader. It concerns a 25 year old character by the name Andy 'Shoes' Blue who was the hardest worker in the sport but was struggling to attain his dreams of being US National Champion. Being 25 years old and also trying to work hard and struggling with less than satisfactory results, it was quite close to home.
Andy decides to make a big commitment and take the trip to the powerhouse of table tennis, China. Ironically after the US Open in July, I will also be making my first trip to China for practice, though I can't even hope to have the same experience as Andy.
Andy will head on a mysterious journey with spirits of former champions of the world as he unveils the core secrets of table tennis which have created the worlds best players. The novel is a brief 100 pages long but the story seems so much longer. I began reading at 2am and could not put the book down until I was done at 3:30am.
It has been quite some time since I took the time to sit down and read a book and let me tell you it was well worth it. It is a great storyline and has moments that many table tennis players can relate to, you may even learn a few things along the way.
With some star appearances from former stars, Ogimura, Zhedong and 'the Dragon' along with other favourites like Jonyer, Waldner and Deng Yaping. This book takes the champions of champions and throws them into a fantasy story.
I could write many things to praise this book, but really there is only one thing that needs to be done. It has to be read! It is very rare to come across an entertaining fictional book which involves table tennis, bordering on impossible until now. Be sure to check it out, 'The Spirit of Pong' by Larry Hodges on Amazon: LINK HERE.