Michael Oher and SJ: Brothers in The Blind Side

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What was the relationship between Michael Oher and SJ Tuohy like in The Blind Side? Were the two really as close in the book as they were in the movie?

In The Blind Side book, Michael Oher and SJ bonded right away and loved spending time together. SJ also took an active part in Michael’s recruiting process.

Read more about Michael Oher and SJ in The Blind Side.

Michael Oher and SJ: A New Family

Michael still slept on the couch but was becoming part of the Tuohy family. He and the nine-year-old son, Sean Jr., became good friends. Finally, after several weeks of staying at the Tuohys’ house, Leigh Anne asked Michael if he’d like to stay permanently. She bought a dresser and a futon and showed Michael to his new room. When he saw the bed, he asked if it was his bed. When he learned it was, he told Leigh Anne he’d never had his own bed before. 

As Michael grew more into a Tuohy, Leigh Anne grew more relaxed, especially since Michael Oher and SJ had such a great relationship. She started to feel like her work was accomplished and that Michael would be OK. However, this peace was shattered shortly after it arrived when Michael got into a car accident with Sean Jr. in the car. It was winter, and the roads were icy. He couldn’t stop at an intersection and slid head first into an oncoming van going 25 mph. When Leigh Anne got to the scene, she found Michael overcome with emotion and Sean Jr. lying on the ground with an unrecognizable face. 

At the hospital, the doctors were surprised Sean Jr. wasn’t seriously injured. His face was bruised and swollen, but no bones had been broken. For a 10-year-old boy sitting in the front seat, the airbag should have caused more damage. Leigh Anne went home and told Michael the good and perplexing news, and that’s when he showed her his arm. He’d stopped the airbag with his arm, cushioning the impact on Sean Jr. and burning his arm in the process. This came as no surprise for the boy who scored below the 10th percentile in middle school on every aptitude test except for one. For “protective instincts,” he’d scored in the 90th percentile. 

A Most-Wanted Man

Michael was getting better at playing the role of doted-on rich kid, but it didn’t change who he was in his heart. He was still innocent and naive, and because of this, he never spoke to any of the coaches who came to visit. Instead, he’d sit quietly while the recruiters expounded on the great programs and benefits they could offer him and let Sean Jr. ask the hard questions, namely what sort of perks they would offer him as Michael’s brother. The bond between brothers was stronger than ever, and Sean Jr. made it clear that Michael wouldn’t be going anywhere he wasn’t invited along as his entourage. 

Michael Oher and SJ: Brothers in The Blind Side

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Michael Lewis's "The Blind Side" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Blind Side summary:

  • How Michael Oher went from the projects in Memphis to the NFL
  • Why the combination of size and speed became essential for football stars
  • How Oher was taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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