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Off Balance: A Memoir Hardcover – June 12, 2012

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Off Balance: A Memoir + Letters to a Young Gymnast + Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams
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Editorial Reviews


“A rousing, intimate memoir… relentlessly candid.” ( --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dominique Moceanu is the youngest American gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal, and the youngest to win a Senior National All-Around Title. She lives near Cleveland, Ohio. Visit

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451608659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451608656
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

What a very interesting life and story.
Amazon Customer
This is a great book that really takes you inside Dominique Moceanu's life, and also inside the sport of Olympic Gymnastics.
Domi Fan
This book is well written and easy to read.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Joe on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A memoir is the story of a person's life and their experiences and no one should be entitled to review that. Accordingly, this review focuses only on how the information is presented and whether the audience of potential buyers would take an interest in it.

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?
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gabi on June 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Dominique's for as long as I can remember. Living in Brazil, it wasn't always easy to follow her career in a time when we didn't have youtube, facebook or twitter... I grew up watching her perform in the world's most prestigious competitions, and ultimately watched her become an Olympic Champion in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. What I loved most about her was that big, beautiful smile she flashed to the audience and the cameras whenever she was performing that just made everything look so easy and effortless! I guess that's why America and the world fell in love with her. But little did we know that behind all that, there was a terrified little girl who was being physically, emotionally and mentally abused and humiliated by the very people who were supposed to love, care and protect her.
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!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. D. on June 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A brave and honest revealing of the dramatic personal life of a gymnastic icon. While Dominique's story is most unusual and unique and quite "mind blowing", the book also has several important layers that stick in the mind long after the book has been digested. How well are our young athletes protected in training? What priority does their health and well being have? How fair is the system that selects them for team participation?

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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tigger78 on August 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I very rarely read biographies. In fact I can think of only one other one I've read (that wasn't a school assignment). I love watching gymnastics and saw this book so I got a sample sent to my Kindle.

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.
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