Making their own odds
Three new memoirs recount the lives of men who overcame enormous adversity.
Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances (HarperCollins) by Scott Brown is the Massachusetts Republican senator's story of his violently abusive childhood, his careers as an athlete and model, and his rise to political prominence.
House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home (Knopf Doubleday) by Mark Richard is the beautifully crafted memoir of the fiction writer and journalist who endured a Southern boyhood marked by physical disability and family turmoil and emerged into a remarkable adulthood.
I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to the Blind Side and Beyond (Penguin) by Michael Oher, with Don Yaeger, is a memoir by the young man whose journey from the ghetto to the NFL was told in The Blind Side; here he tells his side of the story.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor