Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: "Off Balance" by Dominique Moceanu

Off Balance: A Memoir

Title:  "Off Balance, A Memoir"
Author:  Dominique Moceanu with Paul and Terri Williams
Publisher:  Touchstone
Publication Date: 6/12/2012
Pages:  240

Book Description (Amazon):

AT FOURTEEN YEARS OLD, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team, the first and only American women’s team to take gold at the Olympics. Her pixyish appearance and ferocious competitive drive quickly earned her the status of media darling. But behind the fame, the flawless floor routines, and the million-dollar smile, her life was a series of challenges and hardships.

Off Balance vividly delineates each of the dominating characters who contributed to Moceanu’s rise to the top, from her stubborn father and long-suffering mother to her mercurial coach, Bela Karolyi. Here, Moceanu finally shares the haunting stories of competition, her years of hiding injuries and pain out of fear of retribution from her coaches, and how she hit rock bottom after a public battle with her parents.

But medals, murder plots, drugs, and daring escapes aside (all of which figure into Moceanu’s incredible journey), the most unique aspect of her life is the family secret that Moceanu discovers, opening a new and unexpected chapter in her adult life. A mysterious letter from a stranger reveals that she has a second sister—born with a physical disability and given away at birth—who has nonetheless followed in Moceanu’s footsteps in an astonishing way.
A multilayered memoir that transcends the world of sports, Off Balance will touch anyone who has ever dared to dream of a better life.

My Overall Feeling of the Book:

I was so intrigued when I saw that Dominique was publishing a book that I pre-ordered it and had it waiting for me at the post office when I came back from vacation.

I remember watching the 1996 Olympics and seeing the Gold Medal beings won.  I was mesmerized by the story told of Dominique's life and training.

This was my first time to read an auto-biography and I was amazed!  I can't wait to dig into more auto/biographies.  I also get to use this book as one of my 10 non-fiction reads for my "35 X 35" goals.  (See the tab above for more info.)

My Favorite Character:

Of course, Dominique was my favorite character.  I can't believe what all went on behind the scenes that we didn't see on the Olympic coverages and interviews.  Her strength, physically, mentally and her character were all put to the test.

My Favorite Scene:

I think my favorite scene is when Dominique opens the package from Jennifer, the sister she didn't know about.  I can just imagine the surprize and amazement that the letter and proof must have caused.

My Favorite Sentence/Paragraph:
Gymnastics will always be a part of my life (past, present and future), and I am grateful for the life lessons and confidence it has given me.  Whether joined by thousands or standing alone, I will continue to be an advocate for my sport and push for fairness in women's gymnastics across the board.  I am eternall grateful and proud to have found my passion in what I believe is the greatest sport in the world.  As the next generation of young gymnasts reach new heights and stick their landings, I'll be supporting them and promoting our sport...every step of the way.
Dominique Moceanu, Page 240

It Woud Have Been Better If:

There really wasn't anything that I would change about the book itself.  I thought it was amazing.

I do think the amount of politics in gymnastics is horrible though.  I never would have imagined that a few people had so much power over one sport.

I Would Recommend This Book To:

Athletes, athlete wanna-bes, gymnasts, those who grew up watching gymnastics on TV, anyone who plans on watching the 2012 London Olympics, autobiography lovers.



On to the next book,

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