RATING: 4.5/5 stars
Inspirational, engaging and insightful, Neale Daniher’s autobiography When All Is Said & Done (co-written with journalist Warwick Green) has all the features of a good biography and more.
One thing I enjoy about biographies is the little insights you get into different facets of a person’s life such as their upbringing, family and career.
This allows you to feel as if you are getting to know the person, and When All Is Said & Done offers this in spades. It feels very personal and intimate.
Daniher and Green have captured significant moments with great precision, drawing readers into Daniher’s inner thoughts and feelings.
The book details the moment Daniher was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) and his subsequent battle between negative and positive attitudes.
It is chock full of life lessons: Daniher uses moments from his early football career to highlight the importance of taking time to enjoy where you are in life. He contrasts this to his own attitude as a young footballer, constantly striving for the next achievement.
Reflecting on his diagnosis with MND, Daniher also illustrates how what might appear to be a major setback can be viewed as minor with the passing of time.
Daniher also reflects on the importance of attitude to deal with any situation and the fact that life never promised to be fair.
Some of these lessons particularly resonated with me at my current stage of life.
Despite this, the book rarely feels patronising or bossy; Daniher freely admits that no-one has all the answers, even if they are dying.
He is very raw and honest, admitting to his flaws as a human being — such as being too abrupt.
The last few chapters of the book are very moving. Here, Daniher describes his wish that he would live long enough to see his grandchildren grow up and admits he wrote this book so they would have a memory of him.
I always enjoy reading a good autobiography and this is no exception.
When All Is Said & Done is far from an ordinary football biography.
James Manley is a La Trobe University student.