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The Bone Cage

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  713 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Digger, an 85 kilo wrestler, and Sadie, a 26-year-old speed swimmer, stand on the verge of realizing every athlete's dream--winning a gold medal at the Olympics. Both athletes are nearing the end of their athletic careers, and are forced to confront the question: what happens to athletes when their bodies are too old and injured to compete? The blossoming relationship betw ...more
Paperback, 235 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by NeWest (first published August 17th 2006)
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Canada Reads 2011 - Top 40 Novels
46th out of 72 books — 121 voters
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Community Reviews

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Jan 29, 2011 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
There's a difference between fact and truth, and fact doesn't matter in fiction writing, but truth does. Abdou writes something along that line in her acknowledgements, and it's clear how well that method works in this story of two Olympic hopefuls training in Calgary for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. These are fictional characters, but felt so true to read about. Every smell, sight, and sensation is described, making it so easy to believe in and empathize with Sadie and Digger and all they go throu ...more
Kristene Perron
All I knew about The Bone Cage, when I picked it up, was that it had something to do with Olympic swimming. How surprised I was to find, in those pages, vivid memories of my own past brought to life, with stunning realism, and characters who embodied both the glory and tragedy of sport.

The beauty of The Bone Cage is its deceptive simplicity. This is the story of two aspiring Olympic athletes, Sadie and Digger, facing the end of their competitive journey. One last chance to try for Olympic gold,
I only knew about this book through Canada Reads, and this is the third one I've read, with The Complete Essex County and The Best Laid Plans to go. Having heard the radio debates before reading this, I did keep in mind that this didn't get a very positive reception from the judges, but after reading it, that is a disappointment because like Georges Laraque said, this is quite an accessible book. And although by the end of the week that word did seem to carry a negative connotation, I don't mean ...more
Nov 26, 2010 Pooker rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Pooker by: Canada Reads
Having just read Trevor Cole's *Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life* and come to the shocking conclusion that I might be just as self-absorbed as Norman, I am, nevertheless, going to begin this review in just such a way.

I am a woman of a certain age, as women of a certain age are apt to say, but despite that I still harbour what some might say is an unrealistic notion that I will yet compete in the Olympics.

My siblings would not find this notion odd or unrealistic in any way, even as they
brian dean
I chased the Olympic Dream when I was younger and really, l now, in reading this book, realized how mildly I did so. The characters in this book are all working to prepare for the Olympics and struggling with training injuries, family crises and the rest. Yet, the book is not melodramatic. The problems the athletes face are not over-the-top and they don't solve all of them, either. Good luck at the Olympics, Digger.
I loved this book! I read it last year and it still resonates with me, particularly right now during the Olympics. I love the way you smell the pool and feel the pain and sweat of the athletes during training - all because Abdou writes so sensuously. Pick this quick read up if you haven't already read it.
I found this such an interesting look at the lives of these two athletes - their goals, daily schedules, relationships with their families, and how they see themselves (and are seen by others). I agree with L that there is a lot to talk about with the ending....
Sharon Stoneman
Every so many years the Olympics rolls around and we cheer on our athletes, moaning when they don't perform to expectations, celebrating their successes. And when the games are over we return to our lives and, for the most part, don't think about those athletes until the next round of competition. We all love the hard luck story, the competitor who overcomes incredible odds to compete and even win. But we really don't have any idea of what it actually takes to compete at that level.

Angie Abdou g
couldn't put this book down. It's the first time in ages I've stayed up all night reading. Finally, there's a book where we actually care about the characters -- where they come alive as real flawed (yet loveable) humanbeings. The Bone Cage is set in the context of elite athletics and captures the physicality, sensuality, and euphoric highs of amateur sport, as well the darker, cruel side of sport programs. With realism and humour, author Angie Abdou captures athletes on the brink of that transi ...more
I enjoyed The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou on many levels.

I enjoyed my hunt for the book in Chapters. I couldn't remember what the novel was called or the author's name as I raced around Chapter's in the last 15 minutes of the store being open. I remembered the cover was blue. Then my husband and I were talking and he said the word bone in our conversation, which triggered my memory that I was looking for The Bone Cage. I ran over to the computer and typed in The Bone Cage, found the author's last n
Oh my, this book was so bad on so many levels. I chose to read it b/c it was nominated for the Canada Reads debates, but it didn't come into library in time anyway, yet I continued to read it. The Canadian author was just trying way too hard to do a Canadian novel that it is almost a parody. Also, the story is about two Calgary athletes training for the Olympics, but the training and descriptions are just way too detailed for the average reader, and I found myself not caring at all. The characte ...more
Ruth Seeley
Abdou tackles some profound issues here, not least of which (and I don't mean this to sound facetious), are: what matters more, strength or speed? Speed or flexibility? Is winning everything? Or the only thing? Should it be? And, on a deeper level, when should you push through pain - both mental and physical - and when should you stop and pay attention to it? The alternating chapters of linear narrative told from two Olympic athletes' POVs is an interesting technique and one I'd like to see more ...more
Steven Langdon
"The Bone Cage" was chosen as one of the CBC's Canada Reads selections for 2011, underlining how fine a novel it is. Set in the competitive world of high-performance sports, the book focuses on Digger, a wrestler, and Sadie, a swimmer, both preparing for the Olympics. The search for success drives both, yet their lives, and the novel, become charged by their relationship with each other -- each are drawn to the other by physical desire that is deepened further by their recognition of their commo ...more
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. I felt that the descriptions I'd heard of it were not an accurate representation of the main story. This was advantageous to me since I felt I could relate to it more this way. I thought that the author chose to include specific aspects and end the story at an interesting place. This, for me tied in with one of the points the book was making. I read this for Canada Reads this year, and I would recommend this book to others. Don't be deterred by t ...more
The characters in The Bone Cage jump off the page at you. I read this book in one sitting right before the Beijing olympics - it's addictive, engrossing and even informative. The theme is obviously sports, but there's a great human dynamic too that would fit in with lots of genres, makes it an easy fit nomatter what you like to read. Really enjoyed it.
Alison DeLory
It took my a while to become immersed, but once that happened I speed read to the end. The timing of my reading this book, in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, helped me enjoy it more since it is about two athletes training for the Games. What I enjoyed the most was learning about the rigours of training, both physically and mentally.
A visceral book that almost makes you sweat along with the two athletes as they train for the Olympics. I enjoyed its non-Can-litness and almost masculine tone/style; definitely different from what I normally read. I found it really grew on me and that I appreciate it more after finishing than at certain points in the book.
I love books that open another world to me and this one did. I could relate to the reinventing yourself. A passion is a passion and we are often driven by them and lost when they come to naught.
While I enjoyed this book in many ways, there were other ways in which the book held little appeal. While I am not an athlete, my children are involved in competitive sports. One dreams of becoming an Olympian herself, and perhaps I viewed this story with that in mind.
I could feel the grit and determination emanating from both Sade and Digger. The hours of practice, the physical and emotional involvement in their training was palpable. I felt that I was viewing my child a few years down the roa
Trudy Jaskela
I enjoyed this book. Gave me an appreciation of the intensely driven attitude and training involved in preparing for Olympic trials and the actual event. Also the anxiety involved in contemplating life after the Olympics when one's body is too old or injured and another life must be developed. The characters in the book are a female swimmer and male wrestler.
Adbou was an author at the Sunshine Coast Writers Festival 2014. Her presentation spurred me to read this book. I was not disappointed.
Angie Abdou’s debut novel The Bone Cage, places us squarely in the world of two dedicated athletes.
Each chapter alternates between the two main characters, Sadie Jorgenson, a 26-year-old swimmer, and Digger (Tom) Stapleton, a 28-year-old wrestler. Both have qualified and are preparing for the 2004 Olympics. They are living with their parents during this time and there is a sense that their lives are “on hold” for now, as practising their sport occupies them completely.Neither of them has time f
Amanda Leduc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allegra Young
Yes, I watch some sports. Football (my boyfriend is a die-hard Pats fan), soccer (when it's the World/Euro Cup), baseball (when I'm at a Jays game), hockey (I am Canadian, after all) and, lastly, the Olympics. Every four years I start going to TSN more often to read up on who's still around from the last Olympics and what chances Canada has a winning a medal. From these habits, I would say that I'm a sports fan when it "matters". It's entertainment for me, and rarely do I think of what actually ...more
Rick MacDonnell
Jan 01, 2015 Rick MacDonnell rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People unfamiliar with, but who are curious about, amateur sport
Recommended to Rick by: Canada Reads 2011
On the face of it, it's understandable that Angie Abdou's The Bone Cagewas selected for Canada Reads 2011. For the past 18 months or so, Canada has been somewhat infatuated by the Olympics and its amateur athletes (an appreciation long overdue). But after reading the novel I have to say I'm stunned that it was selected by the public as one of Canada's top 40 novels of the decade, and I'm absolutely shocked it made it into the final five. The Bone Cageis a decent novel, and that's as far as I'd t ...more
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou is about young and not-so-young elite athletes striving for their own pinnacle, a place on the Canadian Olympic team. The story is traced compellingly through the alternating and eventually intersecting trajectories of speed swimmer Sadie and wrestler Tom (Digger to family, friends and teammates). Abdou draws persuasively on her own competitive sports background (she swims at the Masters level, her brother was an Olympic wrestler) to build a convincing and approachab ...more
Annette LeBox
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou is about two elite athletes near the end of their careers. Sadie, a speed swimmer, and Digger, a wrestler, dream of winning Olympic medals. The story gives the reader a glimpse into the sacrifices and dedication necessary for an athlete to reach the top of their game. The descriptions of the grueling workouts, lack of sleep and the hard choices the two athletes have to make are realistically described by Adbou. It’s not surprising that Abdou has been a speed swimmer ...more
Ien van Houten
You will enjoy this quick easy read IF you have always wondered about the lives of high-class athletes or if you have one in your life.
The Bone Cage follows two devoted athletes at a crucial moment in their career: the last chance to make it to the 2000 Olympics.

Sadie, 26, is a swimmer, thirty-one year old Thomas AKA Digger has devoted his life to wrestling. Much of the book consists of minutely detailed descriptions of the grueling practices that consume their lives. There is a bit of plot, so
This wasn't a bad book. Some plot devices seemed a little manipulative but sometimes you need some event to show another perspective. Its interesting reading some of the other reviews who felt that the workout descriptions were "way too descriptive". I actually was surprised that there was not more about the physical aspects of training to be an elite athlete but I guess really, the book is more about what happens next. The retired swimmer was fairly annoying and I wish she would have left her a ...more
Not what I thought it would be, but still good.

An exploration of an Olympic dream and the toll it places on elite athletes physical and emotional selves. While all people must face the challenge of figuring out where their life is going and who they really are an athletes journey is exceptionally different and Anie Abdou explores that complexity in The Bone Cage.
Antonia Banyard
Bone Cage tells two parallel stories and, in a sense, two sides of the same story, that of the life of Canadian Olympians. Sadie is a twenty-six year old swimmer and Digger is a thirty-something wrestler. Both come from Calgary and both have qualified for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. This will be their last opportunity to reach the goal they’ve been working towards for most of their lives. Sadie and Digger’s paths eventually cross and take some unexpected turns.

The novel chronicles the months le

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ELEVEN READERS CL...: Critical Assessment and Analysis on the book; The Bone Cage 2 18 Jan 17, 2012 07:41PM  
ELEVEN READERS CL...: The Bone Cage; 203-233 1 6 Jan 15, 2012 07:10AM  
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ELEVEN READERS CL...: Rationale 1 7 Jan 05, 2012 03:12PM  
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Angie Abdou was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She received an Honours B.A. in English from the University of Regina, an M.A. from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary. She now teaches at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, British Columbia. She makes her home in Fernie, British Columbia with her husband and two young children. She has pub ...more
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