Joyce's Reviews > Gold

Gold by Chris Cleave
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's review
Sep 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: foreign-location, books-read-in-2012, fiction
Read in September, 2012

In the novel Gold by Chris Cleave, the author tells the story of 3 British athletes involving in cycling at the Olympics level and an 8 year old girl struggling with leukemia. Two of the athletes, Kate and Zoe, are the top women cyclists in the world and Jake is one of the top male cyclists. They come together for the first time when they are 18 and 19 years old competing for a national competition in England and their lives become entangled at that point. The novel begins when both women are 32 years old and involved in preparing for the Olympic games in London, which will be their last chance at a gold medal. Jake and Kate married several years before and their 8 year old daughter, Sophie, has just undergone chemotherapy again for a relapse of her leukemia. Although all 3 athletes want desperately to get to the Olympics, Zoe has become obsessed to the point that there is nothing else in her life but the need to win. Their love for Sophie and the complications resulting in their lives from her leukemia create challenges for Jake and Kate in their training and participation in the Olympics. The author does a great job of describing the experiences of these 3 athletes while they are involved in a competition---how their minds are working, the details of their strategies, and the way their bodies and minds work together.
Along with its intense focus on the competition of these athletes, the novel also focuses on the struggles of an 8 year old girl trying to cope with her disease of leukemia and her obsession with Star Wars to take her into another world where she can block out her reality. The competition between Kate and Zoe is not limited to just bicycling but other relationships as well which adds another fascinating dimension to this book.

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