Gold by Chris Cleave
Gold, by Chris Cleave, was featured in a magazine I was flipping through around the time of the beginning of the 2012 London Olympics. The story was to be about two competing Olympic cyclists from London themselves. I figured, hey I like cycling and the Olympics, why not read the book.
The main characters featured Zoe, a harsh, self-driven cyclist at the peak of her career, relying on and having no one but herself. This dark-haired, green-eyed beauty hurts everyone around her and can't stop running from the past death of her younger brother. What she lacks for in her personal life accomplishments she makes up for on the track. Juxtapose Kate, the soft-spoken, kind-hearted blond who has chosen a life that includes a loving husband, Jack, and her Star Wars-loving daughter, Sophie, who is struggling with leukemia, and who puts everyone else first before her own needs or wants of Olympic glory. Although naturally gifted at cycling which leads her to be at the same level as her competitor and friend Zoe, her lack of confidence and drive as a competitor hold her back from what was alluded to be her potential.
The book had excerpts from the mind of an Olympic athlete training and competing which made you feel like you were ease dropping on their own personal thoughts which I happen to love. With flashbacks and fast-forwards, Cleave trails a story for you full of surprises and character changes adding depth to each character which each memory depicted. Although the book is described as focusing on two athletes I really felt like the character given the most attention was Zoe with her strong personality while Kate was portrayed as a week doormat most of the time both on and off of the playing field. I found some scenarios in the book implausible given the depictions of the characters making their unexplained behavior appear as more of a grasp at a plot than what seemed right for the character. One thing I enjoyed was the cycling aspects of the book and the details of the bikes and the nuances of the competition. As a side note in case you feel like reading this book, the book was written by and English author and had quite a bit of cursing which I felt was a bit of a fluff filler and unnecessary. As you might have grasped, this was not a page turner for me nor was it a complete waste of time, just another book to check off of my list.
All that to say, just because a book is listed in a magazine you like does not mean that you will like the book but you can always give it a try in case you do find that diamond in the rough.