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Off Balance: A Memoir Hardcover – June 12, 2012
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“A rousing, intimate memoir… relentlessly candid.” (Vogue.com) --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 Dominique-Moceanu.com.
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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. (Ironically the reason she was pushed to do this was because of entrance of one Nadia Com'neci to the gymnastic forum. And who was Nadia Com'neci's coach? Bela Karolyi.)
Bottom line is that it really what naysayers think. It is not so unreasonable to put legislation in to place to protect our youthful athletes. We protect our child stars: How many hours they can work, laws about their getting schooling, etc. California also has the Coogan law to help protect some of the earnings of child actors. Something like this should be considered for child athletes as well.
I do agree with the one reviewer that the writing was a little dry in a few spots and not necessarily written with a skill that one would expect of a published book but I found these things easy to overlook because the story is so enthralling. Don't get me wrong, this book is NOT poorly written. It's hard for me to articulate exactly what I mean. The best I can do is say I have read a lot of books, mostly fiction, (I own about 10,000 books) and it doesn't quite have the polish that a professional writer would have. But you know going in that writing is not her profession so I found it easy to overlook. In my opinion, you wouldn't expect an author to do a cartwheel with the polish and grace of a gymnast; you can't expect a gymnast to have the polish of a professional author.
Another person complained about how she goes on and on about her "perfect husband." I didn't find it that bad. Yes, to some degree I could agree with that reviewer but I found it more sweet. To me it was like she was trying to convey to the readers all her overwhelming love and admiration for this man into words and no words seemed adequate so she just kept adding more words.
Overall, it something everyone should read and hopefully some laws can be enacted to help protect all our young athletes.