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It's Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life
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It's Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  58 reviews
"When the odds were against me, I was always at my best."

When she retired at age 19, Shannon Miller did so as one of the most recognizable gymnasts in the country. The winner of seven Olympic medals and the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in U.S. history, Shannon tells a story of surviving and thriving. A shy, rambunctious girl raised in Oklahoma, Shannon fell in love with/>When/>
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  327 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Interesting and passably enjoyable, reading about Oklahoma's gymnastic sweetheart who enamored America with her humble personality, youthful stamina and drive. My native state has certainly produced some fabulous leaders from many of life's competitive and artistic arenas.

I vividly remember watching Shannon Miller compete during the 1992 Olympics, and then again in 1996 with the Magnificent Seven. Shannon was quite possibly one of the key influential inspirations for my daughters, in
May 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I figured I would like it since I love sports biographies....and gymnastics has always interested me. But this was pretty brutal. Interesting it's titled "It's Not About Perfect", because it just seemed like this sunshine and rainbows narrative about her perfect life. And even when times were tough....she'd have all these great people in her life, her faith, and life lessons to get her through it. Just didn't seem completely honest. It was overly positive with a very informal writing style. And ...more
Ester Elbert
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great biography! I loved the fact that she wrote extensively about her gymnastics career. Gymdetails is what I, gymnerd, strive for
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I loved learning about her life, struggles, her faith and what she is doing now.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really want to give this 2.5 stars.

I admire Shannon Miller, and I've followed her gymnastics career. It's fun to read about her life in gymnastics, and for that I give the book 4 stars.

But if she didn't want to write anything real about her personal life, she should have just left that part out. I get the feeling that she hasn't really examined her own feelings about her experiences that thoroughly, so it's hard for readers to learn from them. Plus it's not actually tha
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for any gymnastics fan. She covers almost every controversey in her career: leaving 1994 Worlds after compulsories in Dortmund, how she felt about being asked to do all-around in 2000, how she felt about all those "over the hill" media questions, the fake rivalries, why she stopped doing the big band routine used in early 1995, her scrunchy! I was afraid this was going to be all a heart breaking cancer story but it's actually only about three chapters in the whole book and wa ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
It's No About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life is about what you would expect from a first hand narrative that puts forth all things positive. I felt as if I were reading about how Shannon Miller's life was through her goody two shoes, rose colored glasses memories. There was not really any personality put forth to add any zip to the rendering of her story.

The story is informative and is a statement of the facts as Shannon Miller recalls them. The book is wo
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
The book was just okay in my opinion. This book came across at times as an idealized version of her life. At points, it felt hard to read because it seemed overly positive to the point of not being real even when it was describing what were supposed to be some of the hardest times of her life. It made it feel less than genuine. I felt a little disappointed in the book because I really wanted to like it given that Shannon Miller is one of my favorite gymnasts of all time.
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shannon Miller has such a positive attitude and shares that in her book. Most don't realize how hard the sport of gymnastics can be and this book showed the challenges as well as how important a positive attitude is. After the 1996 Olympics, the book segued into Shannon finding her way in life and continuing to find a way through struggles while sharing her positive attitude. I was inspired by her book tour speaking and am even more inspired after reading her book.
May 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Not real sure what I was expecting from this book...but wasn't a book for me. I was thinking it was more along the lines of inspirational with her coping with cancer but it was more about her road to the Olympics. Didn't even finish it at about the time she was diagnosed with cancer I had enough.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shannon Miller was always one of my favorites. I loved her story it was an interesting look into the world of elite level gymnastics. I appreciated how she applied lessons learned in the gym to her "real" life. Very inspiring!
Blair Cruikshank
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was very inspirational. I enjoyed how it started as her as a little kid, always wanting to follow in her sisters footsteps. Then she became older and noticed she wanted to do something she liked and wanted her own identity. It then went into her gymnastic career, at which she started at a very young age. I loved learning about her coaches and the ups and downs she went through training. You learn that hard work really does pay off if your willing to go through hard times. I also like h ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reliving the Olympics that I had watched when Shannon was competing. It was nice going down memory lane and getting more insight on what was taking place behind the scenes as well as what got her to those points. She has a very positive, upbeat approach to life that I really appreciated reading about. Even when facing challenges, she always turned to her faith and her loving family (she often credits her parents for instilling strong values in her) and found comfort in her tendency to ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As other reviews have said this is definitely an all out positive book that doesn't delve too deeply into Shannon's feelings. However, she is and always will be my favorite gymnast and I enjoyed her career recap immensely. She is most certainly a strong willed woman that never lets anyone tell her she cannot accomplish her goals. I admire that!
Angie Orlando
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Being a gold meal athlete does not makee a person a good writer. Shannon Miller has a great story to tell, but she doesn’t have a clue how to tell it. The book is way too long with much repetition and no action. Shell tell us what her coach said, then explain in three pages what he meant. Boring!
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I remember watching Shannon Miller compete in the Olympics. I really enjoyed reading about her experience with gymnastics and her life after, including her battle with ovarian cancer. She truly is an inspirational woman.
Deirdre Sanders
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting, quick read about her years as a gymnast and then finding her focus after, including her bout of cancer. It's a series of events with little or no understanding of anything beyond those events.
Manu Sharma
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting sports biography
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My daughter (11) and I read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. We learned a lot about Shannon's life after the Olympics. We found it interesting.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty good book, in particular it was better than both Shawn Johnson's and Gabby Douglas's autobiographies (maybe it has to do with the age of the author).

Most of the book was about her gymnastics career, which was phenomenal. At one point I wondered why she didn't describe one of the competitions in more detail. But when I kept reading, I realized that she had been in so many competitions that going into detail about each one would make the book way too long. I was surpri
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shannon Miller was my favorite gymnast when I was a teenager. My family went without cable TV for about 7 years and the only channel we received through the backyard antenna was ABC. Almost every Saturday, ABC would televise a national or international gymnastics competition on ABC's Wide World of Sports. I remember Shannon in the Barcelona 1992 Olympics and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. We eventually moved and lost our one TV channel and then I got busy with life... and found out a few years ag ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
chronological, highly detailed recap of her gymnastics career. Helpful in reminding that even world champs and Olympic gold medalists have tough times in their sports with injuries, setbacks, self-doubts. Moves on to being story of surviving ovarian cancer and starting a foundation devoted to women's health issues

The gymnastics bits I think would be ideally suited for an interactive v-log or something -- i couldn't quite picture in many cases what move she was describing herself prac
Danielle Mills
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I remember following Shannon as a kid since she was one of my all-time idols. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it walked me through her gymnastic experiences in depth from her younger years all the way beyond college. While I'd always been a big fan, it was amazing to truly get a sense of how wise and determined she was as a young kid, demonstrating why she was so successful. I got a bit teary-eyed re-living their pursuit of team gold in 96', and learning about her life after gymnastics to ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book to read about Shannon Miller's Olympic career, even though the subtitle seemed to indicate that it would mostly be about her cancer battle. It wasn't; in fact, over 3/4 covered her first 19 years as an athlete and then the rest was glossed over pretty quickly- a young marriage and divorce, re-marriage, children, finding a career and cancer diagnosis. It left the book very out-of-balance. Like many reviewers said, it seemed clear that Shannon wanted to gloss over a lot of pe ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, nonfiction
I would like to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for allowing me the privilege of reading and reviewing "It's Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life". Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller tells of her childhood, her ambitions and aspirations with regards to gymnastics as a young child through young adulthood, her Olympic, World, and National achievements, her life after competition including marriages and children, and her largest test of strength to date: facing ov ...more
Christa Van
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shannon Miller is the most decorated American gymnast in history. She has won more championship medals than anyone else. She is also a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with a rare form of Ovarian cancer in 2011 after a cyst was detected during a routine checkup. Even before the cancer, Miller had devoted her post athletic career to women's health and childhood fitness.

This book is the straightforward telling of her early family life and athletic career. I guess it is obvious that she is highl
Jenna King
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the biography of Shannon Miller, the most decorated woman’s gymnastic Olympian from the US.
It starts with her at six years old, tagging along with her older sister Tessa to gymnastics and her continuing after her sister moved to a new interest.
She trained at Dynamo Gym in OK with Coach Steve Munno who followed her to the Olympics.
She competed in both the 1992 and 1996 games, and was 19 in 1996, making her the oldest gymnast there.
The book told of her journey for her sp
Grandpa Jud
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a well-written autobiography by Shannon Miller. I met Shannon Miller briefly when for a very short time she joined a gym in NW OKC at which I was a member. She was quite introverted, and she freely acknowledges this in her book.

Intelligent, extremely focused and diligent, she became a world-class gymnast, and earned the most Olympic medals earned by any gymnast ever from her performances during the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Her singular athletic achievements set the stage for h
Elise Hedlund
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: auto-biography
I loved this book! It was a real eye-opener for me. I had always loved gymnastics, and to know all about Shannon Miller's life was incredible.
Some people might find this book boring. I could understand how the terms could get less interesting, but I was captivated, knowing about gymnastics myself.
The funny thing is, I never saw Shannon compete in the Olympics. I wasn't even alive at the tie of either. Did that stop me fro completely enjoying this book? No! I felt like I was standing, cheering,
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2015 Reading Chal...: It's Not About Perfect by Shannon Miller 1 14 May 04, 2015 06:16AM  

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• 7 Olympic Medals: 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze
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(MSNBC, NBC, Comcast, WOKV, Yahoo! Sports, etc)
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• Member of 8 Halls of Fame

• Wife, Mother, Olympic Gold Medal
“Fans still talk about my big white scrunchie, which became iconic in its own right. I loved that scrunchie and its little sparkles that Peggy glued on herself. Without my scrunchie, I wouldn’t have felt ready to compete. (Yes, I still have it.)” 1 likes
“confidence. If you pretend you are courageous over and over, you may eventually realize that you have become courageous.” 0 likes
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