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Swinging from My Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star Hardcover – April 13, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In this diary-style memoir written with Shipnuck (Bud, Sweat & Tees), golf pro Kim declares she is always happy to be the person at a party who makes an ass of herself. The outspoken 25-year-old from San Jose, Calif., also ponders many questions, ranging from Does my butt look big in this skirt? to issues of lesbianism, anti-Asian sentiment, and the effect of a down economy on the women's game. Interwoven with a blow-by-blow account of her 2009 tournaments, including details about her frequent changes of equipment and caddies, she tells of her rise as a player and of her sometimes contentious relationship with her father, who initially coached, managed, and caddied for her when she turned pro at 18. Readers learn much about her boyfriends, including a long-term love affair with a caddie that ended as her 2009 season began, and she reveals that it's not easy to get laid on the LPGA tour. She also shares her love for Twitter, shopping (she has 75 pairs of shoes), singer Jason Mraz (who autographed her prodigious cleavage), and the environment. She also tells her story about posing nude for ESPN magazine. The promised confessions, however, are far from surprising, and the accounts of her golf rounds will interest only the most obsessed of fans. (May)
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“Christina Kim rocks. She's funny, honest and insightful. Her book, "Swinging from my Heels," is all of the above, too.” ―Daily News of Los Angeles
“If you want a glimpse into life on the women's professional tour, ''Swinging From My Heels" takes you inside that world with dozens of funny, sincere and insightful tales. A poignant, comical and revealing look at the L.P.G.A., where there is an authentic love-of-the-game spirit. It doesn't hurt that Kim is such an entertaining tour guide.” ―New York Times
“If you think the LPGA Tour is boring, you don't know Christina Kim. Kim pens a delightful, eye-opening account of her life in an up-close look at the 2009 season.” ―The Daily News of Los Angeles
“SWINGING FROM MY HEELS is the LPGA version through the eyes, heart and motoring mouth of Kim during her 2009 season… An intimate diary that not only dissects Kim's season, but pulls the curtain back on LPGA Tour. It's a thoughtful and insightful look into many of the myths, rumors and issues surrounding the LPGA Tour, while also showcasing many of the game's premier players through their friendships with Kim.” ―Monterey County Herald
“Kim takes the reader on an unforgettable romp down the fairway and into the rough of her 2009 campaign, and you'll thank her for inviting you along!” ―The Californian
“A short-skirted, high-heeled companion to Jim Bouton's ageless Ball Four. Both shine a light on the egos and sex drives, frailties and insecurities of athletes previously portrayed as one-dimensional. Like any good guidebook, Swinging From My Heels makes the L.P.G.A. seem worthy of a closer look.” ―New York Times blog "On Par"
“Swinging from My Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star, is the first book of its kind about what it's really like to be inside the ropes in women's golf.” ―San Diego Union Tribune
“An insider's look at a golfer (and a tour) in transition, laced with straight talk, juicy anecdotes and more than a couple of wild nights with her pals.” ―Golf.com
“Both riotous and poignant, Swinging from My Heels reveals why Christina Kim is the most engaging (and impish) player in professional golf. As bold as her wardrobe, she pulls out a driver on every topic--whether addressing her own insecurities or tour controversies. With Alan Shipnuck's deft storytelling touch, Christina provides an unvarnished peek through the looking glass of a tour season full of humor and humanity.” ―Selena Roberts
“OMG! Swinging from My Heels is A Good Walk Spoiled meets Sex in the City. Christina Kim and Alan Shipnuck must have been separated at birth: the tell-it-all athlete and the tell-it-all writer. What a book.” ―Michael Bamberger
Top customer reviews
What's not to love about Christina Kim? The Kim family is the quintessential American success story. The daughter of hard-working, self-sacrificing immigrants from South Korea, her well-earned success represents the essence of the land of opportunity. Kim and Shipnuck detail the path to LPGA stardom that began when Christina's father, Man, stuck a club in her hand when she was 11 years old. A mere six years later, she vaulted into public consciousness for the first time with a stunning 62 at the 2001 U.S. Girl's Amateur Championship. $3.5 million in Tour earnings later, she's become a touchstone for true fans of women's professional golf.
The narrative of the book is an event-by-event recounting Kim's 2009 season. It ends up being quite a tale - but not for the golf itself. Kim's play is fair at best - un-confident putting and a penchant for late round collapses halve her earnings from the previous years. But the bigger picture is one of change, both personal and - for the LPGA itself - economic. On the personal side, Kim breaks up with a long-time boyfriend at the book's outset. This leads to a rekindling of her relationship with her Dad. Despite the always tetchy dynamics of a Dad/coach-to-daughter/student relationship - not to mention the gulf of a traditional immigrant Dad who raised a uniquely American daughter - theirs is an obviously loving relationship. The book captures every nuance of this father/daughter partnership. Other evidence of change are Kim's turnover rate on caddies, putters and drivers throughout the year...each too numerous to count.
For the LPGA, the changes of 2009 are almost uniformly negative...and many self-inflicted. 2009 is the year in which a rising wave of across-the-board discontent (players, sponsors, tournament hosts, administration) against LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens reached a crescendo. In a player-organized putsch, Bivens is forced out. Kim, a proud LPGA players' board member and perceived Bivens supporter, is later voted out by her peers. There's evidence of what Bivens' had wrought in these pages: though the 2008 economic downturn was definitely a big contributing factor, Bivens pushed out traditional tour sponsors and alienated others, thus leading to a materially shrunken tour. Part of Kim's lower earnings can be atributed to fewer opportunities to play. At the tour's lower echelons, this wreaked havoc on lives and careers. Shipnuck's superb profile in SI of the death of Erica Blasberg brought this home in the starkest possible terms.
I enjoyed the honesty, the thoughtful explanations of controversial issues, and the different perspective that Christina brought to the narrative. She didn't owe anybody an explanation of why she couldn't win a tournament in 2009, or the fines for swearing, or a defense of the Korean girls on Tour, any of that, but there it was, and that took courage. I really appreciated getting to know what I did as a temporary guest in Christina's world that I wouldn't know if I'd gone to 100 tournaments outside the ropes. She touched on just about everything we'd be interested in for her life as a professional golfer, inside and outside the ropes. We got to know her parents, friends, love interests, caddies, and other players through her eyes, and that was all much appreciated.
The only issue I had with the read was that I wished we'd get as long an explanation about the issues she brought up (Korean players, Player Council stuff) as she did when she narrated in painstaking detail the shot-making decisions, caddie conversations and results during the second round of the Dinah Shore, for example. I know golf is her job, but those didn't seem equal. Especially if Shipnuck is transcribing, the turkey talk could be longer.
All in all, well worth the read. You won't find many athlete stories more real. And I think that helps the LPGA.