"My family doesn't do happy endings. We do sad endings or frustrating endings or no endings at all. We are hardwired to expect the next interruption or disappearance or broken promise."
Hope Solo is the face of the modern female athlete. She is fearless, outspoken, and the best in the world at what she does: protecting the goal of the U.S. women's soccer team. Her outsized talent has led her to the pinnacle of her sport - the Olympics and the World Cup - and made her into an international celebrity who is just as likely to appear on ABC's Dancing with the Stars as she is on the covers of Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, and Vogue. But her journey - which began in Richland, Washington, where she was raised by her strong-willed mother on the scorched earth of defunct nuclear testing sites - is similarly haunted by the fallout of her family history. Her father, a philanderer and con man, was convicted of embezzlement when Solo was an infant. She lost touch with him as he drifted out of prison and into homelessness. By the time they reunited, years later, in the parking lot of a grocery store, she was an All-American goalkeeper at the University of Washington and already a budding prospect for the U.S. national team. He was living in the woods.
Despite harboring serious doubts even about the provenance of her father's last name (and her own), Solo embraces him as fiercely as she pursues her dreams of being a world-class soccer player. When those dreams are threatened by her standing within the national team, as when she was famously benched in the semifinals of the 2007 World Cup after four shutouts and spoke her piece publicly, we see a woman of uncompromising independence and hard-won perseverance navigate the petty backlash against her. For the first time, she tells her version of that controversial episode, and offers with it a full understanding of her hard-scrabble life.
Moving, sometimes shocking, Solo is a portrait of an athlete finding redemption. This is the Hope Solo whom few have ever glimpsed.
©2012 Hope Solo (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
First off, I purchased the book because my son plays keeper, and we both enjoy watching Hope Solo play--she is arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, male or female.
I had hope for some inside tips--special tricks of the trade, a glimpse of a Michael Phelps type diet, a great drill that helped form her amazing reaction to the ball. Nope, not a word and you could probably substitute basketball or volleyball for soccer and still have same story. .
This isn't that type of book--if you want good book to improve your child's game, try Dan Blank(soon to be on audible!). Even more amazing is that a sports writer assisted with the writing as the game scenes are as thrilling as the ingredients on a can of green beans
So why read this? Well----sports always have characters, people who have not just awesome talent but a knack for garnering as many headlines off the field as on the field.Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Michael Phelps, etc. They add the entertainment value to the sport. This is a fascinating inside glimpse of a such an athlete, and will leave you a better understanding of the pressures that they go through to get to the top of their specialty and what helps to keep them grounded.
You should listen this book for four main reasons;:
1. This is a love letter to her father, a man by her own admission she barely knew. At points I felt that at points this is her image of her father and possibly not a completely factual narrative. Either way the man had a major impact on her life and influenced her actions.
2. She almost relishes in not being a team player in one of the most team-oriented sports out there. For her the most dramatic moment of her life wasn't winning Olympic gold or some amazing game, but when she was suspended in 2007. I barely remembered the incident, and she clearly exaggerates the impact of this, but still her explanation still smacks of the spoiled brat athlete, ala Johnny Manziel, yet I have to admit I did sympathize with her
3. I had picked up Kevin Long's book for tips for hitting, which he included, but was pleasantly surprised at the mini bio about how tough being a minor league player is. Similarly, Hope touches on the ups and downs of the women's professional soccer after college. Most of the female soccer leagues are jokes compared to baseball minor league teams, and if you aren't on the national team it is surprisingly difficult for the players to make a living. I do wish she had expounded more here and offered her ideas on how to improve both audience engagement as well as better situation for the players.
4. Hope's family is not the Brady bunch--they are more like a soap opera, full of fights and love. Every major event in Hope's life, whether up or down, the various family members(usually hating each other) still come out to support her. Even her on again, off again, BFF Adrian** is there. Here is where you gain most respect for Hope--her love for her family and friends abounds in this book.
Just be prepared as she is vindictive and does not hold back against any of those who "hurt" her, going all the way back to high school!
**PS I thought Adrian was "code" for man she married(Jerramy Stevens)---but alas Adrian is real. Hope's dating and marriage happened a few months after book released. Hard to comment on a relationship I know little about, but I am writing this right after both were in headlines again(leading to her most recent suspension). Can't help but wonder what would have happened if she had married Adrian.
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