4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · memoir · non fiction · Sports

Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic #Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines | ARC #BookReview

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Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines

Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 

Pages: 144 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gymnastics, women speaking out, learning more about the culture of abuse, strong women 

Foodie Vibes: oooh, that’s a tough one when it comes to gymnastics – ideally it should be a healthy mix of lean protein, complex carbs and lots of vegetables, but in reality it’s probably a lot of disordered eating 

 

Synopsis:

Two-year-old Rachel Haines didn’t know that she would be committing to twenty-one years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance as she jumped into the foam pit during her first “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She had no idea that one day she would become a two-time National Team Member, two-time National Champion, and a Division I college gymnast at the University of Minnesota. Nor could she have known that she had just signed herself up for serious injury, emotional distress, and continuous sexual assault by world-renowned trainer turned serial molester, Larry Nassar.

In Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture, Rachel details her experiences as a competitive gymnast and the painful realities of being one of Nassar’s many victims. With honesty and candidness, Rachel shares how the sport she loved that gave her so much—friendships, accomplishments, a college education—is also tangled in a dangerously toxic culture that needs to be fixed. In a world that was setting her up for a lifetime of recovery, she tells how faith, family, and an army of survivors made healing possible.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, and Rachel Haines for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • She was able to speak her truth and current perspective of John Geddert. She enjoyed having him as a coach. Many other people have spoken out against his abusive coaching techniques, which I absolutely believe. But the problems of the sport of gymnastics are not one sided, so its good that everyone can tell their story. 
  • Hearing her perspective of the story (her’s only), not just what we were getting from the media
  • I can see this being the first of many books written, by different authors, about the same subject. Finally the world is getting a more complete view of gymnastics – the good and the bad.

Love: 

  • She’s using her voice to tell her story and speak out against the abuse and toxic culture of the sport.
  • Discusses the abuse without being unnecessarily overly graphic, IMO
  • Discusses the abusive culture of gymnastics as a whole, because it’s not just one person’s bad actions 

Dislike:

  • The culture of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) that’s been allowed throughout the sport of gymnastics, because of the people in charge not putting athlete safety and well being first 

Wish that:

  • It was a bit longer. The content is great and the perfect length, but I would have liked to hear more about the sport as a whole and the culture of abuse across multiple gyms. Maybe that’s for another book and I would absolutely read that too.

Overall, a very necessary book about the current culture within the sport of gymnastics. A great read about a difficult topic. I think everyone needs to read Rachel’s story, especially anyone currently or ever involved in the sport. 

 

How many of you did gymnastics as a kid?

 

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3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Sports · Uncategorized

ARC Review | Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

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Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

Published: November 13, 2018

Publisher: Little A 

Pages: 316

Genres: contemporary fiction, sports

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: college athletics, the toll life can take on a person, relatable characters 

Foodie Vibes: egg white omelets, dry toast, black coffee — perfectly measured out and calorie counted 

 

Synopsis:

Breadloaf and New York Public Library fellow, Jaclyn Gilbert’s LATE AIR, a tale of a fanatical Yale cross country coach sent reeling into the ghosts of his past after an early morning practice run on the golf course goes horrifically wrong, injuring his star runner and churning up all that has lain dormant around the coach’s fragmented life and marriage.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a free ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Late Air can best be described as an odd book in a mainstream way. The coach shows he cares about his athletes, himself, his wife and their child through actions. He obsesses about counting things, keeping in control, and producing results. By staying regimented he can achieve what he wants for himself and others. Much of the book is about his goals and coaching his Division 1 athletes. It’s fascinating, sad and a bit horrifying to read about the inner workings of his brain. The book can be seen as a warning against a singular focus mindset. 

Despite the catch being so focused, the story was a bit all over the place. At times I got lost and other times I didn’t really care. There are many life lessons to be learned, but I didn’t really care about the characters. 

All in all, a cautionary tale against obsession, but not as amazing as I had hoped.

 

Answer me this:

What’s your favorite sport?

Let’s get to 5 comments, and I’ll share my favorite sport!

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Sports · Sports Fiction · Young Adult

Skid by Doug Solter

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Skid by Doug Solter

Published: May 20, 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace

Pages: 270

Genres: young adult, contemporary, sports, sports fiction

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: fiction books about sports, racing, driven passionate women, females in male dominated sports/careers, action packed books

Read with food: cheese fries ~ Samantha’s favorite

 

Synopsis:

Love and romance at the speed of death.

Seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton races cars. She’s good. Crazy-talented good. A girl who breaks all the stereotypes. But she has a temper that always gets her into plenty of trouble. After her father died, Samantha focused her life on winning every race. Nothing short of that goal will do. The girl knows she has a debt to pay back.

Eighteen-year-old Manny Wolert loves the engineering side of racing. The nuts and bolts. The supercharged engines and intricate aerodynamics. He’s a racing nerd who grew up inside his uncle’s Formula One team. This is their year to win. If only they can find their Mozart behind the wheel.

A story of two teens, brought together by their love of speed.

Fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES and Enid Bagnold’s NATIONAL VELVET should find SKID exciting and emotionally compelling. Fans of Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY series will enjoy the international settings and lifestyle.

This book is the first part of the SKID young adult racing series filled with young romance, bite-your-nails-racing action, international travel, a girl you want to root for, and above all else…a story about racing for people who don’t care about racing.

 

Review:

Skid pulled me in right from the beginning and didn’t let up. The author is phenomenal at bringing us into the world of racing. I know nothing about cars or racing, but I could easily follow the story. The writing made the story work so well. The main character, Samantha, is realistically written as a passionate teenage girl trying to make it in a male dominated sport. Her passion and determination races off each page, making me want to keep reading. I also really enjoyed that the story can be really inspirational for a lot of teenage girls. The more books we feature with strong passionate females, the better. Skid should really be in the hands of more middle and high schoolers.

The only critiques I have are that Samantha kept calling the car her best friend, while driving. Is this a racing thing? After awhile the repetitiveness became a bit annoying. Also she doesn’t have a ton of professional race experience, but after a few months of intense training, she’s competing against seasoned pros. Not incredibly realistic, but young phenols do happen in sport. It certainly makes the world of sports super exciting!

But overall I really enjoyed the book for the exciting world of competitive racing, inspiring character of Samantha and overall fun that made the entire book work.

 

 

As of the date of this initial post, Skid by Doug Solter is available for FREE on Amazon.com in ebook format. Such a great way to see if you like the first book in the series.

*Not an affiliate link, just noticed it was free when I went to buy it and thought I would pass along the info to you all.