Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: Gold

Kate and Zoe are competitive cyclists. They met at the age of nineteen when they both make the national program. They start training under the same coach, flirting with the same guy, and doing whatever it takes to get to the Olympics. Thirteen years later, the best friends are looking at the race that will be their most important and probably their last. The 2012 Olympics are on the horizon and Kate and Zoe are determined to race. Kate is trying to train all the while caring for her daughter who is fighting cancer. Zoe will do anything to win, including damaging her relationships and throwing her own safety and sanity aside. Will the Olympics bring the friends closer together and give them one last shot at glory, or will it tear them apart forever?

This story takes a friendship and places it in a unique context. I didn't know too much about competitive cycling, and I have to confess I haven't given much thought to the intense training that goes into becoming an Olympic athlete. While I will never walk into a stadium to the cheers of thousands, I think all parents can relate to the constant tightrope walk between the needs of our children and our own needs.

Like many books, this one oscillates between the past and the present. Cleave is expert at giving you tiny snippets of the past that illuminate the current storyline in really interesting ways. It's impossible not to care for Kate, her husband Nick and daughter Sophie, Zoe, and even their coach. If you have read a book by Cleave before, you know that he is a fan of the surprising twist. That certainly happens here, but the thing that really kept me turning pages was the fact that I didn't know how the story would end...and I wasn't sure which woman I wanted to win the gold. This book is not just for cycling or Olympics fans; it's a story for anyone who enjoys nuanced, fascinating characters and a compelling story. 

By Chris Cleave
Simon and Schuster July 2012
324 pages
From my shelves


  1. This is another one of those books that has been languishing on my To Read list for years. I keep forgetting about it! Maybe I should read it this summer before the Rio games. Hmm... Think I'll remember? :)

    1. I might resort to putting a sticky note on my forehead to remember all the books I've been meaning to read! It might work for you too...:)

  2. I'm usually not that fond of sports reads, but this one sounds like it has a lot at stake.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading.

    1. I'm the same way - someone watching football will put me to sleep every time. But this book is less about the sport and more about the pressures and relationships.