genre: memoir, non-fiction
Do you know Amanda Beard? If you watched the 1996 Olympics the way I did, you would know her - the 14 year old swimmer who ended up on the medal stand three times. This book is her story - her journey as a swimmer and as the girl BEYOND the swimmer. Open and sometimes brutally honest, Amanda takes us behind the scenes at the Olympics, at the training pool and in her private life.
My daughter actually checked this out at the library, but she didn't have a chance to read it before heading to camp so I started it in a moment of peace. I found myself strangely interested - it's very readable and her life is very intriguing. I really loved what she had to say about that first Olympics she went to - it's crazy to read about an event like that from an insider's point of view, since we are only shown what the media WANTS us to see, not necessarily the whole truth.
Sometimes she was frustrating - so many unfortunate choices. And it took a long time for her to figure out who she really was - but that part I think was what I liked most. She talks bluntly about some very personal issues - an eating disorder, self-harm, depression - and how she worked through it. How she faced it and continues to overcome it. She really ripped on some of the people she had relationships with, and sometimes it felt like she was being vaguely vindictive, which was annoying. But I was still intrigued enough that even with very few reading minutes available, I wanted to finish it.
It wasn't necessarily a life-changing read but I respect her openness about things that a lot of people are dealing with - it makes you feel that if amazing, world-recording holding athletes can have such hard problems and overcome them, maybe I can too.