Guys, I think I may have discovered a new favorite author. Don’t worry, Jodi Picoult, you’ll still be number one in my heart. I am proud to say that I’m beginning to expand my taste in books, and that means giving new authors a try. Like I said before, I’ve read both of Chris Cleave’s other novels (Little Bee and Incendiary) and enjoyed both. The other day, I finished Gold, and am giving it rave reviews.
Gold follows the story of Kate and Zoe, two Olympic cyclists living in London. The two women met when they were 19 at a Junior Nationals cycling competition, and have been in competition ever since. Kate is the one with more natural talent, while Zoe’s talent requires a bit more effort. The two would likely not be friends had it not been for cycling, they couldn’t be more different.
While Kate married fellow Olympic cyclist Jack Argall and is raising a daughter, Sophie, Zoe lives alone in a high rise bachelorette pad. Zoe’s nights are spent with men who are presumably only with her to take photographs with her Olympic metals, as she spends her days alone on a strict diet, performing exactly 300 abdominal crunches each morning.
Both women are not without their struggles, though. Kate’s daughter is currently in a losing battle with leukemia, or the “Death Star” to the Star Wars-obsessed child. Zoe’s childhood was wrought with the sorrow that followed her young brother’s unexpected death. She continues to battle with never dealing with that sorrow along with the inner demons she battles daily due to her competitiveness.
I found the story to be incredibly gripping, and it was a quick read (only 323 pages!). The release of the book is quite timely, too, as we look forward to the London Olympics in the upcoming week (the two women are vying for a medal in the London Olympics for the majority of the novel).
While I won’t reveal what exactly happens in the book, I’ll mention a few questions I came across while reading.
How far are we willing to go to help our friends? What kind of sacrifices are we willing to make?
At what point do we stop doing what we love to do what we feel like we have to do? How do we decipher that difference and when do we draw that line?
Should we let go of our younger dreams as we begin to take on “adult” responsibilities?
I myself found it difficult to answer these questions, as I think that we should always strive to reach our dreams, no matter what age (ugh! how cliche!). Anyway, I enjoyed this book, and appreciated the symbolism. The novel also gave me an entirely new perspective on Olympic athletes and just how much of their lives are consumed by training.
Per usual, you can check out NPR’s book review here. I LOVE how they mention one of my favorite books and movies, Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild.