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The Boxer's Heart: A Woman Fighting Paperback – May 29, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590208110
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590208113
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,611,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The sweet science of bruising" is how travel editor Sekules describes the art of boxing. In her memoir she documents the sport in unflinching detailAfrom a round-by-round recap of her first professional match to the often maternal relationship between a boxer and her trainer. The major underlying theme of the book isAnot surprisinglyAgender issues. While women have been boxing since the 18th century, Sekules discovers there is no model of behavior for women in the male-dominated world of modern boxing, and to her disappointment, she finds that the women who are involved are not interested in any kind of female camaraderie. As expected, her participation in the sport causes waves with the men surrounding her. Her boyfriend displays a new penchant for masochism in bed, which she quickly tires of, and a male boxer tells her over e-mail that he pays women to beat him up in the ring. Her trainer develops a crush on her and pouts at inopportune times when he is rebuffed. And a sports journalist calls her hours before a professional match and reveals that he is "titillated" by "catfights." From boxers, she writes, "I was learning to transfer weight from weight to fist and also from problem to tool." If by book's end, the problems are not solved (or even solvable), it is apparent that Sekules has all the tools she needs and more. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Sekules, the travel editor at Food and Wine , took a boxercise aerobics class in Brooklyn in the mid-nineties and, before long, was a regular at Gleason's, America's oldest continuously operating fight gym, where she trained alongside the famous, the infamous, the hopeless, and the helpless. Initially, boxing was a way for Sekules to explore the glorious grit of the gym and to show off to her literary friends ("I hang out with real boxers"). But soon the sport had her hooked. She relished the determination, skill, stamina, and artistry the ring demands of its successful inhabitants. In addition to chronicling her own odyssey, this memoir supplies keen reflections on the rise of women's boxing and the struggle to keep it from becoming a freak show on pay-per-view undercards. Boxing has its seamy side, too, and despite her infatuation, Sekules had no trouble spotting the con artists and self-serving promoters looking to flimflam a naive young fighter. This is an immensely entertaining, intelligent book that will appeal to boxing fans as well as athletes considering entering a new arena. It will also appeal to the same readers drawn to Dowling's Frailty Myth (see review on p.49). Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading great reviews about this book, I got a copy even though boxing--let alone women's boxing!--isn't my thing. But then, this book isn't about boxing: it's about life, love, mastering fear and pain, themes that this amazing writer ties together by means of boxing & conflict as a metaphor for life. (Still, there are many fascinating details about real, 'non-metaphorical' boxing too--the first chapter, about the author's preparations for her first professional bout, is so suspenseful and well-told that I couldn't put the book down until I'd gotten to the end when Ms. Sekules tells us the outcome, after detouring through other fascinating territory about her life, the history of women in boxing, and many other issues.) Ms. Sekules does a dazzling job here of intertwining the gripping descriptions of her life in boxing with those issues that that 'the ring' is meant (I think) to represent here: the difficulties of loving (loving oneself not least of all), of coming to terms with one's fears about life and self-worth, of realizing one's limitations--and, in the end, also one's strengths. It's a moving journey.
Also, the author's narrative voice is unlike any I've ever come across: strong, clear, very idiosyncratic, and, in the end, totally winning. It reminded me of the first time I read "Catcher in the Rye"--it's that personal and quirky and astute. I hope there are many more Sekules books in the pipeline. This is clearly a major new author.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Those of us who thought we knew fighting from the inside out better re-examine our armchairs. Here's a surprising book about boxing - and a book that is full of surprises. I don't particularly like boxing, but reading The Boxer's Heart half changed my mind. The author has as much to say about boxing (and the fight game), as she does about men and women and the way our culture pushes us to see ourselves. It's a compelling read on many levels. One, it's a damned good story about what led one very interesting woman into the ring. Two it's superbly written; she knows language and how to work it like a jab or uppercut - and watch out for the unexpected knockout punch. She can write AND box. On another level this is an involving, compassionate, detailed and painstaking piece of personal reportage about the fight game at a time when the game is beginning to make way for female pugilists (and not so fast either). It's also a thought-provoking critique of conventional male/female role models via the surprising agency (at least to this reader) of this most violent, supposedly most masculine of sports. and is it a sport, or merely sanctioned brutality, a legitimate way to vent murderous rage? the author raises lots of questions inside her compelling may-I-dare-to-suggest distinctly female yet unisex narrative. The book plunges the reader into a ring of rich and challenging insights and keeps you on the ropes till the closing bell. The writing is tough and compassionate, feeling and probing, literary yet down to earth and always bobbing and weaving a spell. The Boxer's Heart is one of the best fight books I've ever read - your adrenaline is in for a ride. Author Kate Sekules performs open heart surgery on boxing in a way no man could - yet she doesn't pull any of her punches.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "mgre301" on February 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My wife recently brought this book home from the library with great excitement, after telling me that she had met and become friends with the author a number of years earlier at a writers' workshop in Vermont. I picked up the book out of curiosity, mostly about boxing (of which I know very little).
For me, this book immediately worked on the most important level - as a vivid, inside account of what it is like to become a boxer, to train at a famous fight gymnasium, and ultimately to enter the ring as a professional. The book is also a lot more: an intelligent meditation on the history and technique of the "sweet science," a reflection on feminism, gender politics, and the vicissitudes of body image, and a narrative arc describing one woman's journey in synthesizing meaning from her personal experience. The juxtaposition of these elements is an ambitious undertaking, and the success of the author in so doing derives as much from her gifted prose style as from her observations and insights regarding the world of pugilism.
Anyone interested in boxing, sports, and/or feminism will find this book compelling, as will anyone who enjoys a good story. I am looking forward to reading Sekules's next book - on whatever topic about which she next decides to write.
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