Review: Howley’s Thrown

Thrown
Kerry Howley

I loved this little book. The conceit is that it is a recounting of a philosophy grad student who becomes enraptured with the world of MMA and follows two mid-west regional athletes through their ups and downs. Howley isn’t really a philosophy doctoral candidate, but she is a talented writer. The fighters depicted here (Sean Huffman and Erik Koch) are, however, very real, and are described with empathy and clarity. MMA fighting, especially in small regional shows, is a very hard way to make a living. That comes through in Howley’s depictions of poorly attended events, long work outs in small gyms, and injuries you don’t even want to think about.

As a journalistic piece, the book is top notch, but Howley takes it even further dealing in a nuanced way with the complexities of an intellectual immersing herself in the lives of these fighters for both intellectual and emotional reasons. Is it a bit distasteful to turn these men’s lives into a philosophical statement? Perhaps. But is it also legitimate to view their lives that way? Perhaps. These are the questions that should plague anyone who tries to write seriously about the lives of others and Howley takes the questions on in an interesting (if at times perhaps too circuitous) of a way.
All in all, a great book.

Recommended.

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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3 Responses to Review: Howley’s Thrown

  1. Pingback: 2015: My Year In Books | Milo and the Calf

  2. Levi says:

    Hey there, yours was one of the only other reviews of Thrown I could find through WordPress. This was quite an interesting book, although I didn’t buy the fictionalized version of the conceit. Still, a compelling read.

    Check out my review if you’re so inclined: https://leviathanbound.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/thrown/

    Cheers!

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