Persuading many teenage boys to read can be a challenge. Convincing them to read fiction rather than a biography or book packed with facts is often a step too far. The Greatest should attract all lovers of biography and facts but in doing so it may go a long way to proving to these readers how enjoyable fiction can be.
The book itself can be divided into two sections that run parallel to each other. The first is a story that follows teenager Ali who must rise above racists to become a boxing champion, all the time drawing inspiration from the greatest boxer of all time. The characters are those the reader can relate to while the narrative is pacy and action filled. Those hungry for facts will be satisfied by the biography of Muhammad Ali, which appears at the end of each chapter of the story. These facts allow readers to follow up on references made to Muhammad Ali in the fiction section. At times some of the lists can prove a little tedious to read, but it should be remembered that those who like non-fiction enjoy learning new facts.
The book is produced to high standards with a font and cream-coloured paper that make the book dyslexia friendly. The monochrome illustrations add to the edgy nature of the story and setting, while the attractive cover should grab the attention of boxing fans. Hopefully the book will also encourage these same sports fans to read more fiction as well.