The book "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis is based on the true story of Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher. The story tells of Michael's troubled childhood with a drug-addicted mother and his struggles with school. In high school, Michael has no home and instead lives with a half dozen other families for short periods. He ultimately meets Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who take him into their home, help him graduate from high school and into college, and help him get a contract playing professional football.
The Core of the Story
Michael Oher is the main character in the book, and he undergoes significant personal changes as a result of his experiences. His childhood is marked by poverty and abuse that is so extreme that even when he lives with the wealthy Tuohys, he hoards food and money. He has a hard time in school, both socially and academically. Michael has a natural talent for football, but he is threatened with not being able to play if he can't maintain his academics. He takes easy courses online to bring up his GPA and works with a tutor to better understand the courses he takes at the high school. Over time, he also opens up personally, becoming a strong member of his football team and developing a good relationship with the Tuohys.
The Key Support
Sean Tuohy is the head of the Tuohy family. In the book, he is described as the wealthiest man in Tennessee, having made his fortune by opening up a series of fast food chains throughout the state. Though Sean Tuohy has a background role in the film version of the book, "The Blind Side," he is a central character in the book. He works side by side with his wife, Leigh Anne to help Michael. In fact, it is Sean who sits by Michael's side when he is interviewed by the NCAA in the Tuohy's home.
The One Who Takes Him In
Leigh Anne Tuohy takes center stage in the film version of "The Blind Side," and she has a big role in the book, too. She is the one who decides to help Michael after learning that he is homeless. Together with her husband, she helps Michael to get better grades in school, attend college and play sports professionally. Leigh Anne visits Michael's mother to help Michael, she speaks with counselors and coaches on his behalf, and she advocates for him within the educational system. Leigh Anne's fiery spirit is portrayed as a driving force toward good for Michael.
The Tuohy children, Collins and Sean, or "SJ," also feature prominently in the book. Collins is a cheerleader, and SJ is a football player himself. At first, the children are reluctant to accept Michael, but over time, they see him as a family member. The Tuohy children serve as foils to Michael. They have everything that Michael does not -- a nice family and the financial support that they need -- so they are able to easily accomplish all the things that Michael struggles to do.
- Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images