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Ten Points Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 27, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (June 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401302580
  • ASIN: B0023RT0HM
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,234,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The executive editor of Bicycling magazine explores childhood, fatherhood and cycling in this moving memoir about the legacy of child abuse and the healing power of sport and family. In Emmaus, Pa., in 2004, 39-year-old Strickland decided to take up a near-impossible challenge proposed by his preschool-aged daughter Natalie, to score 10 points in a single season; to do so, he has to place among the top four-ten times-in a local weekly race populated by Olympians and cycling legends. Alternating between present-day life and dispatches from his horrific childhood, Strickland introduces his sadistic father, a man who put a loaded gun in his son's mouth, made him eat dog feces and encouraged him to have sex with his babysitter, among other outrages. Strickland juxtaposes these episodes with scenes of his own shortcomings: unbridled anger with his daughter and marital infidelity with a colleague. It's only through numerous races (and missed points) that he learns to tame the inner demons that threaten his new family. Strickland's lyrical prose and swift pacing lighten the material's weight, but it remains a necessarily brutal read that goes several shades darker than most sports memoirs; though non-cyclists may get bored during the race scenes (and there are plenty), anyone dealing with familial abuse will find Strickland's journey an inspiration.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When the executive editor of Bicycling told his four-year-old daughter that he would win 10 points during a single amateur bike-racing season, he knew he had made a promise that was almost impossible to keep. To win a point, a competitor has to be among the first four finishers in a race, and Strickland, a writer not a racer, was going up against the elite, men and women who dedicate their lives to the sport. But, being a man who loved his little girl, he took on the challenge and discovered that it wasn't really about the racing at all: it was about being the best father he could be and about coming to terms with the memories of his own abusive childhood. The sports-as-spiritual-therapy theme has been explored plenty of times, and perhaps Strickland doesn't offer any blindingly new revelations, but his book is honest, and he doesn't waste our time with banal observations or facile psychologizing. He is also a very talented writer, and readers should brace themselves for some very moving—and also some rather unsettling—passages. Pitt, David

More About the Author

I'm not the famous and nice philanthropist Bill Strickland who helps people lead better lives. I'm just a guy who writes about life, mostly about bikes and life, as it turns out. Besides the books you can find here, I've published stories in Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Men's Health, Men's Journal, Parenting, Parents, Backpacker, Rouleur, Embrocation Cycling Journal, The Indianapolis Star, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Book Review and other magazines and newspapers, and I've commented on cycling, memoirs and other topics for Good Morning America, The Early Show, CBS Sports, ESPN, NPR and other networks. I got to work with Phil Liggett a few times providing narration for race videos. I race road and cyclocross, just a little bit and not very well. I'm the editor-at-large of Bicycling, the biggest cycling mag in the world. And I am an amateur and barely competent goatherd.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
It's extremely well written.
Greg M Knight
The blend of cycling, athletics, and family relations made for a personal story that I could relate to.
Tim Chapman
This book was so good, that I had to pace myself to not read it all in one sitting.
Renee A. Cuffe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Reissner on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Ten Points" is the story of Bill Strickland, Executive Editor of Bicycling magazine, and how one summer he promised his daughter Natalie that he would earn ten points racing in the Thursday criterium bike race near their home in Lehigh, Pennsylvania. Bill is in his late 30s, by his own account a racer of impressively modest accomplishment, and his competitors are a motley assemblage of some of the top racing talent in the United States. His odds of getting ten points are pretty poor as he starts his quest but he wants to keep the promise to his daughter. But the challenge extends far beyond the ten points as Bill Strickland turns what on the surface appears to be a middle-aged man's quixotic quest into his need to use the bicycle to bring meaning into his life. He wants to use the discipline, the pain and even the anger of bike racing to overcome his past and build something stronger and more meaningful with his family.

This book is not really about bike racing, but the accounts of the Thursday night races are wonderful in their detail and drama. The other racers-with nicknames like the Animal, Speed, Bird, Steak and Purple Jersey, are talented and dedicated but they seem to operate at a totally different level than even well-trained hobby athletes. The author learns with each session out on the road, but all too often he lacks the physical ability to keep pace. The description of amateur bike racing, and what goes on in your mind as you try to work the pack, is exceptional.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Johnson on July 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ten Points is much more than a book about bicycling. Bill Strickland takes us to places we don't want to go but can't stop reading about. Few of us know the thrill and pain of competitive cycling. Unfortunately, many of us know the pain of abuse at the hands of someone who should be our protector. This book is astonishing, appalling, and inspirational all rolled into one. Strickland achieved 10 points.Ten Points
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on September 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Author Bill Strickland is an amateur bicycle racer as well as the executive editor of BICYCLING magazine. He embraces a magnificent obsession -- to earn by placing weekly criterium bike races near his home. He pledges to his pre-school aged daughter that he will score 10 points by placing high enough in this series of races.

TEN POINTS is on one level bicycle narrative, but it transcends that. Strickland's cycling endeavors alternate with flashbacks of a deeply troubled childhood overshadowed by an abusive father. Strickland's father could be considered a poster child for White Trash, except that would probably give undue insult to those who are White Trash. It's people like Strickland's father who make us wish that you had to be licensed in order to sire children. The vignettes of abuse recounted by Strickland are at times difficult to read. I marvel at the courage Strickland has in self-revelation and sharing these memories with the readers. Throughout his adult life the baggage haunted him and impacted his dealings with his friends, his children, and even led him to an extramarital affair which jeopardized his marriage.

Rather than letting this psychic baggage derail his life or marriage, Strickland redoubles his efforts and infuses "the quest for 10 points" with an almost mythic sense of mission. His prose on bike racing cracks and crackles with authenticity, putting you in the middle of the straining peloton. This alone is worth the price of admission...

It would be nice to wrap this up with a tidy Tiffany's bow and relate a story where Bill Strickland ultimately wins his 10 points, transcending his athletic limitations and his past.

Alas, life is rarely so neatly packaged. As one famous bicycle racer has stated, "It's not about the bike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol A Johnson-Rondo on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
From the beginning to the triumphant end, once started you will not be able to put this book down.Bill's writing pulls you into the excitement of bicycling, the sadness and anger of a torn childhood and the wonder of a devoted wife and daughter. A real life inspiration.
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Format: Hardcover
Had a rough childhood? I did as did many of the people I grew up with. We all had our own way of dealing with these demons of our past. Most of my friends didn't make it. Some fell to drugs or prison or the worst fate of all - marriage. Fortunately I took a similar path to author Bill Strickland who tried with every muscle fiber to purge his nightmares through the sweat of sport. Each successive attempt acts as yet another chance to prove to himself, his wife and his daughter that he is not his father. The man who warped his psyche was continuing to do damage years after his physical presence had passed away. This inner turmoil manifested as blind ambition whenever the author took to his cycle in each season as he attempted to do the impossible, win ten points in a weekly Criterium race. This powerful memoir brings forth the question as to whether a man can chance his stars with the sheer thrust of pedal power. Greats of the past have done so but could a damaged man? 10 Points not only makes you seek the answer but makes you wonder what you can accomplish as well. More importantly, it makes you reconsider what your accomplishments would really mean.
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