Dachokie's Reviews > Solo: A Memoir of Hope

Solo by Hope Solo
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Sep 14, 12

bookshelves: biography
Read from September 08 to 14, 2012

Understandably Outspoken …

Prior to the 2012 Olympics, my only familiarity of Hope Solo is that she was a current member (goalie) of the athletic juggernaut also known as the US Women’s Soccer Team. Honestly, my interest in women’s soccer peaked and waned with the 1999 Women’s World Cup team and I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars”, but Hope Solo grabbed my attention with the news of her candid tweeting during the past summer Olympics … especially her audacious jab at Brandi Chastain, the poster-child of that ’99 team. With the media painting her as yet another spoiled, outspoken, but gifted trouble-maker athlete; I was thrilled at the timely release of Hope’s autobiography: SOLO: A MEMOIR OF HOPE. While my original expectations of the book being nothing more than an assembly of girlie tabloid-like sports fodder, I quickly found myself immersed in a cathartic soul-bearing chronicle of deeply passionate individual whose complicated family life serves as her ultimate strength.

Hope Solo is often portrayed as being stunningly beautiful, remarkably talented … and an opinioned loudmouth. Seems fair … at least that’s how I felt after reading about the uproar over her comments this past Olympics; it is also a superficial characterization. Unlike most athletes that utilize their moment of fame (or infamy in some cases) as a cash cow opportunity, SOLO: A MEMOIR OF HOPE seems more an attempt to draw people into discovering who Hope Solo REALLY is and not what she appears to be. Yes, a mini-scandal during the Olympics is a great selling tool (it got me to buy the book), but her deeply personal story proved to be an interesting, emotional and rewarding read.

A relatively young athlete releases an autobiography while competing in the Olympics obviously means a chapter is missing and the story is incomplete. Well, maybe not. While future editions of SOLO may be supplemented with a chapter that recaps the trials and tribulations of winning another Olympic gold medal, most readers will likely discover such a chapter really isn’t necessary. I felt the purpose of Hope Solo’s memoir was less about self-promotion and more about releasing. The storyline is interesting, engaging and detailed in a manner that provides clarity without sacrificing the book’s reading flow (which is somewhat fast). While soccer may seem to be the logical focus of Solo’s memoir (it IS what made her famous enough to write the book), Solo’s relationship with her family (more specifically, her father) is what takes center stage in this memoir. It’s the rather complex and non-traditional father-daughter relationship that serves as the source of Solo’s resolve, fortitude and outspoken nature that makes her the soccer superstar she is, but also accounts for the troubles she’s encountered throughout her career. I found the stories of her family life dating back to her childhood to be sincerely written, but painful to read about. There is plenty of soccer drama too. All the ups-and-downs with winning and losing are documented, as well all the conflicts with coaches and teammates over the years (especially the “old guard” from the ’99 squad). What is refreshing is that I found Solo to be believably honest in her recollections of the more negative aspects of her soccer career. And while the ego of a world-class athlete is relatively hard to hide in autobiography, Solo reveals herself to be a sensitive and tender individual with her own insecurities … just like everyone else.

I am glad I read this book. I honestly would not have given a second thought to Hope Solo after the Olympics had it not been for the hoopla over her tweets to Brandi Chastain. Reading SOLO explained (and even justified) much of this young athlete’s behavior/attitude and revealed a much more complex and interesting individual than I expected. Hope Solo’s book not only forced me to respect her, but turned me into a big fan as well.
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