Susie's Reviews > Gold

Gold by Chris Cleave
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's review
Aug 03, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

Olympic events started on July 28, and I started this book on August 1. A neat coincidence as I reached the chapter describing the first meeting of the four main characters at the Velodrome, only to hear about 15 seconds later on TV, "Here we are from the London Velopark. The timing really made me appreciate the portrayal of the psyche and physiological aspects of Olympic athletes. I was awed by the descriptions of the metabolic and physiologic occurrences that happen during a race. Just the descriptions of the security necessary during an Olympics was mind-boggling. (And I worked at an '88 swimming trial where some friends served as escorts to be sure nothing happened to athletes between the completion of a race and their drug test.)

I felt somewhat betrayed by the major plot twist, because it made it seem that, although we were privy to many of the inner feelings of the characters, we weren't really told the truth from the beginning. Some phrases seemed overwrought, but others were exquisite:
"It was more dangerous than fighting, but safer than conversation"
"Perhaps everyone struggles with the possessive flow in human memory that hoarded the episodes you most wanted to let go."

Some things are pretty hilarious (Tom stuck in the bathtub, his misperception during a childbirth), but there is much desperation in the story. Sometimes the StarWars parts seemed too much of a juxtaposition, and I never really did like Zoe. How much was Tom's failure to medal (by 0.1 second) a part of the person he would ultimately become?

Ultimately, though, this was a great read during the Olympics! I also had the urge to drink tea, and I downloaded The Proclaimers "500 Miles" too.

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