After a childhood filled with neglect Ruby Tui yearned for another path. Determined not to let her upbringing limit her, she survived abuse, drugs and tragedy to become one of the most successful women's rugby players in the world.
In this memoir, Tui looks herself in the eye, understanding that she can turn pain into purpose. This is an open, raw and honest account of her journey from a troubled childhood searching for a better option in life, to Olympic champion and world's best sevens player.
It is at times a hard read - there's drugs, murder, domestic abuse to name just a few struggles - but it is an important read. Tui lets others know that they can take their struggles and move forward, they too can create their purpose.
She breaks the books down into three parts - love, gratitude, and communication. These are her core values and the stories she tells within each part show how those values are her guiding lights. It's rare to see someone who so wholeheartedly embodies their values, but Tui has them front and centre at all times.
While the book could at times need a little extra editing, the 'voice' of the book is 100% Tui. It is like sitting down and listening to her talk. Her little catchphrases, her passion, and of course her puns, are there in abundant glory.
While this is a book that revolves a lot around rugby, this isn't a book just for rugby fans. Tui takes the lessons she's learned in rugby and applies them to her life. Of course, it helps if you know a little about the game but it is not a prerequisite.
Straight Up is Tui putting her cards on the table and showing people that your past doesn't have to define you. She gives readers permission to acknowledge, accept and love themselves through whatever has happened in their lives. Tui has said she wants to leave her mark by creating change. Straight Up is one way she will achieve her goals.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
Allen & Unwin, RRP $36.99