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Off Balance: A Memoir Hardcover – June 12, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
As fans of celebrities we pick up on a person during or after their major achievements. In the case of Moceanu (for most) this would be 1996 when she and the U.S. Woman's team won a gold medal in the team competition for gymnastics. She was just 14 years old. I assumed it took a lot of hard work to get there, and that the path was not easy. I also assumed that it was a childhood lost and replaced with the hard work and determination of an adult. This book certainly confirms these theories. I feel I can write this without it being a real spoiler for anyone.
We (the public) see the glorious results and have some appreciation for how difficult it is to achieve the results, but no true understanding. This memoir humanizes Moceanu's achievements and it does it in an incredibly well thought out and touching way. For example, most fans knew her family was Romanian - but probably few considered what that truly meant. It meant that Moceanu is a first generation American who came from a poor family of immigrants... a family which had a financially unsteady situation. It may be hard enough to achieve greatness, but it is even harder living in a two-bedroom apartment with your parents, sister and grandparents. Most great gymnasts tend to be on the small side, but have any fans considered what it is like to be the smallest person in your class selected last to play a sport in gym class, have a funny sounding name and come to school with food that is unlike your classmates' food at lunch time?Read more ›
This book does a great job in telling the whole story from Dominique's point of view maybe for the first time ever. She's blunt honest, straight forward in telling the story of her own life, and for the first time we can really understand where she's coming from and what was happening in her life before, during and after Atlanta. The family feud, the loss of all her money, her escape from home at the age of seventeen, the freedom, the parties, the drugs and all the injuries that ultimately took their toll on her and forced her to retire prematurely. Not to mention her secret sister!
But one of the most interesting issues mentioned by her is the politics behind the US Women's Gymnastics program and how ugly and unfair it can be. I was shocked to hear about her life with the Karolyis, especially because, like many others, I believed the show they put on for the cameras!Read more ›
The book is easy to read. I also appreciate the robust and sophisticated presentation of chapters in the book. The format allowed two very diverse but extraordinary components to be presented as equal centerpieces in Dominique's dramatic story.
The most remarkable, amazing, and inspirational of all is how healthy and well grounded a woman Dominique has become. I salute Dominique as a loving woman, wife, mother, sister, and articulate advocate for the young gymnastic athletes of tomorrow. A fascinating read.
One person's review said they weren't sure of why she started with the chapter about her sister. I personally think it was a brilliant move. It draws you in and laid the ground work for describing who her parents were as people in the next chapter.
I was appalled by many of the things mentioned in the book about the world of gymnastics but I can't say that I'm surprised. Another review I read on here alluded that "official" book reviews/media sources were stating that "she can't back it up" or that "she was bitter." To this I would say that I remember hearing mumblings (I think it was after the 96 Olympics) about how "not nice" Bela Karolyi was.
I think that because it is shocking and appalling because people don't WANT to believe it. People most likely think that: Surely in this day and age this couldn't be taking place in a place like the US.
For me it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to believe. When I was telling my mother about the book her first comment was: "Sounds very European to me."(Meaning reminiscent of the Soviet Union methods in years past). To illustrate I have two words: Elena Mukhina. A Soviet Woman gymnast that was pushed to do a tumbling pass that was beyond her capabilities and strength, as well as beyond her comfort. The result was that she broke her neck. Granted, she was a Soviet Woman and the Karoylis are Romanian but both places were communists countries at their height and, as such, had very similar views on their athletes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Completely inspiring and a testament to the human spirit. What this woman suffered through, both personally and professionally, yet still won Olympic gold at 14 years of age, shoes... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Paula Simmons
Awesome book!!! Definitely a page-turner. Wow, Dominique is an impressive person. She persevered through a difficult childhood at the hands of self-serving adults who should’ve... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Solar25
And easy read. Very interesting to learn about the many obstacles an Olympic athlete has faced.Published 3 months ago by Stephanie
This book is awesome! It goes through Dominique's thoughts from childhood to present, and details all the challenges she has had to face. Read morePublished 6 months ago by jpd218
A must read for any Gymnastics Fan, and about time someone denounced the frauds of the Karolyis, having to wactch all the Olympic phonies of this limelight grabber, Olympics after... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Oscar Logrono Brache
This is a review of the Audible version. This is a great "listen", and I highly recommend it. Ms. Moceanu is the narrator. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Michael
Such an eye-opening book! I would recommend this to anyone who watched Dominique's gymnastics career in the 90's. What we saw on tv was definitely not the whole story! Read morePublished 10 months ago by M. A. Roche