Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness

Rate this book
The former middle distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness, and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition, but also in life. This is a heartbreakingly honest yet hopeful memoir reminiscent of Manic, Electroboy, and An Unquiet Mind.

During the 1990s, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a dark truth: manic depression and bipolar disorder that drove her obsession to perform and win. For years after leaving the track, Suzy wrestled with her condition, as well as the loss of a close friend, conflicted feelings about motherhood and her marriage, and lingering shame about her athletic career. After a misdiagnosis and a recommendation for medication that only exacerbated her mania and made her hypersexual, Suzy embarked on a new path, and assumed a new identity. Fueled by a newfound confidence, a feeling of strength and independence and a desire she couldn’t tamp down, she became a high-priced escort in Las Vegas, working as “Kelly.”

But Suzy could not keep her double life a secret forever. When it was eventually exposed, it sent her into a reckless suicidal period where the only option seemed out. Finally, with the help of her devoted husband, Suzy finally got the proper medical help she needed. In this startling frank memoir, she recounts the journey to outrun her demons, revealing how a woman used to physically controlling her body learned to come to terms with her unstable mind. It is the story of a how a supreme competitor scored her most important victory of all—reclaiming her life from the ravages of an untreated mental illness. Today, thanks to diagnosis, therapy, Kelly has stepped into the shadows, but Suzy is building a better life, one day at a time. Sharing her story, Suzy is determined to raise awareness, provide understanding, and offer inspiration to others coping with their own challenges.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published June 9, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Suzy Favor Hamilton

3 books19 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,306 (19%)
4 stars
2,066 (31%)
3 stars
2,128 (32%)
2 stars
850 (12%)
1 star
255 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 801 reviews
Profile Image for Barry Bridges.
404 reviews2 followers
October 17, 2015
Poorly written. The sad truth is there are many thousands who suffer from the same disease who aren't so lucky as to have unlimited income, a spouse who patiently covers for them and allows blatant indiscretion, then miraculously forgives. She should have spent less time bragging about her exploits and more time on how she helped those she damaged find healing, but then maybe that hasn't happened. Hamilton seems barely aware even now of the havoc she has spawned in her self-centered existence. Throughout the book, after each high, she admits that she feels no guilt, no shame, yet underlying every story is the truth of the way she really feels.

Then, the lying to the daughter - "that isn't really your mommy." Hell yes, it is. That is the same lie Hamilton kept telling herself when she was knowingly switching identities. Keep on blaming instead of accepting the truth. That scene simply exposes the depth of dysfunction in this family.

My hope is for others suffering with bipolar disorder to find a way to get the help they need, and to steer clear of this book.

Spoiler - she gets caught, now lives a happy life, and there were no consequences to her behavior except her own embarrassment at getting exposed.
Profile Image for SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*.
502 reviews97 followers
October 14, 2015
I was 3/4 of the way through this book and came to the conclusion that I just didn't give a damn. So,I quit.
Carry on and find a book worth reading.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
350 reviews389 followers
December 28, 2015
I think this can go without saying, but this isn't a book to read for the melodious prose.

When I heard about Suzy Favor Hamilton's tribulations a few years ago I was shocked. Why would someone in her position choose to risk her reputation, her health, and her family by working as a high-end escort?

As a runner I'd admired Favor Hamilton's running career and what she had done for the sport. I (along with the rest of the public) had no idea about the mental health issues that plagued her family and Suzy herself.

Sure, the book is full of salacious details. There's as much sex as running in this book. If you know off the bat you won't like that, then skip this one.

Some may still question Favor Hamilton's behavior, but I admire her for bringing to light mental health issues -- and the significant complications that arise when those issues aren't diagnosed, are misdiagnosed, and are mistreated.

3 stars.
Profile Image for Nina.
766 reviews154 followers
October 24, 2022
Reading this memoir made me remember the rush of mania. The sensations, though process and feeling of invincibility were very familiar to me, since I’ve been hypomanic. I was surprised by how much I missed it, so read with caution if you have bipolar disorder yourself. For others the book will shed light on how a manic mind works.
Profile Image for Caroline.
740 reviews15 followers
January 13, 2016
What to say about this book... hmm...
Okay, here goes:
1. Suzy doesn't narrate the book. She reads the Prologue and Epilogue and that's it. But after you hear the prologue, you realize you don't want her reading the whole book.
2. If you're into soft core porn, this is your book.
3. If you're into mothers abandoning their child, this is your book.
4. If you desire to be frustrated and want to smack the author upside the head, this is your book.
5. While I understand the importance of bringing to light and explaining mental illness, she didn't do mental illness any favors with this book (no pun intended).
6. Though she says in her epilogue that she *finally* was properly diagnosed and is on the right medication and psychotherapy, writing the book is really just a continuation of her Bi-polar mania. Throughout the entire book, the theme is "girl needs attention and she needs it right now" and oh yay! I can get more attention by writing this book and basically recounting every sexual encounter? Yay me!
7. I believe the goal of the book was to paint herself as a sympathetic character; she didn't succeed. And not only did she not succeed, she shot herself in the foot with all the nonsense and b.s. she tried to pass off.
8. Even if you like soft porn, the endless chapters of her sexual encounters got boring. I fast forwarded through several chapters. Oh, you're having sex with 4 guys at time again Suzy? *YAWN*

Save your time and your money and skip this one. If you want to know what exactly happened or want some questions answered, respond and I will tell you.
Profile Image for Marva Tutt.
52 reviews3 followers
October 10, 2015
Just the right time!

I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder after years of treating it as clinical depression. This book touched my heart in so many ways because it takes a great amount of courage to share your story. No embarrassment and stigma necessary!
Profile Image for Debi G..
975 reviews35 followers
January 3, 2016
Did anything in this book shock or disgust me?
Yes. In this book, Suzy Favor Hamilton admits she faked a fall in her final, last-place-finish Olympic race.

This memoir seems to have been dictated to a ghostwriter or fixer. Discrepancies and pacing issues may be a product of Favor Hamilton's mental status, or they may be the result of a fatigued editor.

The book manages to simultaneously over- and under-explain, stopping short of answering easily anticipated questions about her double life, Vegas activities, and marital strain. Certainly, she was trying to avoid further scandal with a matter-of-fact approach that prevents the book from teetering into titillating territory, but although Favor Hamilton did not try to make herself look good, she also did not portray herself as sympathetic.

Don't read this book expecting to understand the following:

How is it that a swimsuit calendar proved too taxing for the writer's family, yet a tell (nearly) all book is not?

How has her life changed since being publicly outed?

Why did Favor Hamilton write this account?
Profile Image for Misty Melsheimer.
104 reviews
April 6, 2016
Suzy Favor Hamilton was my idol growing up, as she was for most girls at the time who ran cross country or track. When the story broke about her being an escort in Las Vegas, I didn't judge. I knew there had to be a reason behind it. I suspected it might have to do with being used to being in the spotlight and craving that sort of attention again. I've always thought it must be hard for pro-athletes when they retire. They're usually so young and left with a "what now?" despair.

When this book came out, I couldn't wait to read it. I really enjoyed the first part of it, where it chronicled her running career. I was surprised to learn about all of her anxiety, though it makes perfect sense for someone in the public eye with so many expectations upon her.

It was to my disappointment to find I didn't really care for her. Though I felt for her struggles and enjoyed reading about her running career, I found her to be incredibly self-centered and unlikable. This became even more apparent in her time as an escort. She didn't give any thought to her husband or daughter. Part of me wonders if this book was written to garner sympathy in an effort at damage control for her reputation. It seems like she'd be happy to go to the escort lifestyle again and that it wasn't remorse or concern for the well-being of her family that stops her, but only concern for her public image. This book certainly portrays that she's very manipulative, and I can't help but think this book is part of that manipulation.

I was very disappointed by this book, to learn that my childhood hero isn't someone I'd like to aspire to be- which has nothing to do with her life as an escort and everything to do with who she is as a person.
Profile Image for Cindy.
378 reviews7 followers
August 27, 2016
Wow, just wow.

Its difficult to comprehend that this is a work of non fiction. Suzy delivers her story in a true matter of fact manner. As many stories dealing with mental health issues, this one shows how complex disorders are, and how difficult getting to a diagnosis can be. Even in the midst of her most destructive behaviors, it was hard for her and her husband to recognize that something was fundamentally wrong, or, probably more true to the fact, that self preservation was kicking in.

Based on what she wrote, Suzy Favor Hamiliton's mental illness started in childhood, and there is even a familial history with her brother. And the shame, hiding, and ignoring culture surrounding mental illness. At times she seems dismissive of her family's distance because of her fame, but I think that is part of her perception of reality.
Many people can't comprehend how her husband stood by her side. The time she spent as an escort was about a year, and in the span of time of her marriage, that isn't much at all. I view it as her husband, who had seen his wife so unhappy for so many years, starting to see her happiness return, willing to do what it took to keep her happy. Even swallowing his needs to help her.

Mental illness is such a complex, difficult affliction--you cant see it. It doesn't always make sense. It can be slow growing and morphing that you don't see the changes happening. Until its someone you don't recognize anymore.

Suzy was entirely true in the fact that she wasn't getting what she needed out of therapy because she wasn't be honest to them. That is one of the hardest things about seeking help-- you have to be willing to be 100% honest, with your therapist, and especially yourself, before you can even begin to get to the core of the issue. Another hard part that she touches on, is that she had to own up to her depression by admitting it to a complete stranger before she could even get an appointment. The obstacles put into place in our healthcare system to get people the help they need early on, before it's a crisis situation is appalling.

It is scary to think about what would have happened to Suzy Favor Hamilton had she not been outed when she did.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,123 reviews69 followers
December 22, 2021
5 Stars for Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness (audiobook) by Suzy Favor Hamilton and Sarah Tomlinson read by Nan McNamara and the author.

This was a really interesting look into mental illness. There are several facets that are covered in this story. From Bulimia to suicide. Also being misdiagnosed and prescribed the wrong medication. Suzy Favor Hamilton is an amazingly talented woman but has led a truly troubled life. This must have been difficult to write but hopefully it has helped bring some peace to her life.
Profile Image for Bon Tom.
856 reviews56 followers
December 12, 2017
This is textbook of mental illness. Nothing more, nothing less. It's almost academic material. And it's honest, no holds barred testimonial. As such, it offers better, and as direct as possible, first person perspective insight into bipolar disorder.

Taking this into account, how anyone can rate this below 4 stars is totally beyond my comprehension. And the only reason even for that one star missing would be, in my case, that it ended a bit abruptly, possibly assuming that we all know what happened next or at least can google about it.

Why is there so many ratings based on moral judgment is even more beyond me. I must say, I'm disappointed with that part of Goodreads community. From readers of the books, I would have expected better.

Why do some reviewers, intellectuals, supposed readers of hundreds of books, feel the need to spill their guts about how they can't comprehend why and how Suzy did this or that?
Even if there was ground for moral judgment of the author (which there is not, as any court will tell you when it comes to matter of accountability), why does the rating of the book itself need to be based on moral qualities of the author?

In conclusion, it seems mental illness is still huge stigma in today's society, even in what should be top echelons of it. It's unknown territory for just about everybody except few dedicated professionals. The rest of us, we have responsibility to learn some basics. If for nothing else, than to give more plausible ratings on Goodreads. Beyond that, these people are part of our world, neighbourhoods, families.

And it's not like they carry their bipolar mania in their pocket and can freely take it out and put it back as they choose. It's pervasive disorder that clouds the judgment and makes people do things they would never do otherwise.

So if you have at least some modicum of open mind and can accept the fact it's about mental illness, not about glamour and self-aggrandizement, read the book. It's great.
Profile Image for Cathy Douglas.
329 reviews21 followers
October 3, 2015
If you are locally famous, if you're devoted to pleasing your family, if you make your living by your wholesome reputation, if you trade on inspiration, if you want to sell real estate, if you want to make your parents proud, it's going to be a bad idea to moonlight as a prostitute. Doing this does, however, make for a hell of an interesting memoir.

So she gets off on having sex with strangers, what of it? She kind of sucked at real estate anyway.

The book covers the years of her running career, but not in much detail; mostly, it's about what made her commit the flagrant sin of behaving unexpectedly. She holds her diagnosis in front of her like a shield.

I'm reading this at the same time I'm reading Dietland, and it's like two ways of looking at the same thing: What is a woman's body good for, what can it do, what's it worth, how does it feel to the one who lives inside? To me, that's what it's about, even though Suzy's purpose in writing the book probably doesn't have much to do with any of this.
Profile Image for Ariel.
585 reviews23 followers
October 2, 2015
I saw Suzy Favor Hamilton speak about this book on a recent episode of 20/20 and the story was so crazy I had to read more. Suzy was a runner who competed at two Olympics where she failed to seal the deal at clutch time. When all of the world's eyes were upon her she came in last in both Olympic races. Humiliated, she came home to Wisconsin with her husband and young daughter and became the number 2 escort in Las Vegas. Her undiagnosed bipolar depression took off on Zoloft and caused her to have hyper sex drive. I get the whole bipolar thing but her husbands reaction of sure go to Las Vegas, sleep with whoever you want, floors me. He even bought her a condo so she could live there. After reading this book I found out that I am pretty naive about what is going on in Las Vegas. Although I am left shaking my head, it is a fast past story and does spread the message that mental disorders are not stigmatizing and there is help available.
Profile Image for Robbie Hodge.
3 reviews
February 3, 2018
I'm disappointed in the negative reviews, most of which appear solely as judgement of, and disdain for, another human's behavior, and not at all in recognition of the accurate depiction of one person's journey with mental illness. These reviews perpetuate the stigma associated with mental illness. The ideology behind this negativity is the predominant contributing factor for why those who suffer do so in silence and shame.

If you are committed to MISunderstanding mental illness in general, and mania in particular, then this book is not for you. As someone with an open heart and mind, this is one heck of an interesting read and is invaluable to those willing and wanting to understand the mind of a manic-depressive.

Thank you Suzy.
Profile Image for Tara - Running 'n' Reading.
316 reviews95 followers
November 6, 2015
First things first...if you're looking for a book about running, then this is not your book; you should definitely check out Suzy's other, earlier publication, called Fast Track: Training and Nutrition Secrets from America's Top Female Runner. I've read it and it's really good, too. This book is the story of Suzy's real life, the one she didn't even recognize until she'd been able to step away from it and realize that she, like others in her family, suffers from mental illness; specifically, bipolar disorder.

That's not to say that she doesn't discuss her running career; she has made a connection between the way her running career, unintentionally, fueled her illness and she certainly had to find other ways to express herself, to find her "high," after years of training and racing at the elite level. In this book, Suzy is brutally honest; she discusses topics that could be difficult for some readers, like her sexual promiscuity and her penchant for putting herself into dangerous, nonsensical situations. In context, none of that should be too shocking; what's shocking is that it is often, still, so difficult for individuals to receive the correct diagnosis and the treatment they need for their unique symptoms.

I've read a lot of "judgy" reviews of this memoir and, while everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, the reviews I've read by people who also suffer from mental illness are the ones that were the most impactful. This isn't a piece of classic literature, it's not going to answer everyone's questions about why or how or whatever, but it's Suzy's story and I respect her for choosing to share it in an attempt to come to terms with her illness, the things she's done in her life because of that illness, and with the hope that it might allow others to discuss their experiences and ask for help.

If you have a tendency to be judgmental about the stories of those who are dealing with things that you may not be able to understand, then this book will not be useful; I found it to be illuminating and a great way to gain better insight into the world of those who struggle with mental illness.
Profile Image for Michelle.
589 reviews159 followers
October 13, 2015
Three time Olympic competitor for women's middle long distance running Suzy Favor Hamilton recounts her incredible athletic career which was sponsored by Reebok, Clairol, Proctor and Gamble and others, that afforded a lifestyle others can only wish for. "Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness" also covers the family avoidance, shame and overall stigma associated with mental illness in this candid and inspirational memoir.

Favor, a bright imaginative child always on the go, and unable to sit still. Her father, was the same way keeping his 4 children engaged in outdoor activities and sports; her mother had a long career as a nurse. Favor seemed somewhat closer to her older brother Dan, later tragically lost by suicide, and her father, who nearly drowned in a sailing mishap. Not a very good student academically, Favor completed her education at the University of Wisconsin proudly representing the school as a famous champion star athlete.

After marriage to her husband Mark, the couple moved from Wisconsin to Malibu, California where he attended law school at Pepperdine University. Afterward, they operated a successful real estate business together. Following the birth of their only daughter Kylie, Favor suffered increased depressive episodes and severe mood swings, she also discussed the higher risk of developing bipolar disorder following childbirth. 15%-17% of those with untreated bipolar disorder die by suicide, and learning more about mental illness can save lives.

Favor further descended into mania, hyper sexuality and grandiose thinking making several trips to Las Vegas where she worked for a high class escort service that catered to wealthy and famous clientele. When her double life was exposed by a reporter, her life would never be the same. (From the book)... "Mark has helped me reach a place where I have no shame about anything I did- because that would in essence mean being ashamed of being bipolar, which I absolutely am not. Its still difficult to forgive myself for the pain I caused, because of my illness, to people I love so much. Mostly, these days, I just try to focus on gratitude."...
Today, Suzy Favor Hamilton is a yoga instructor, and an a popular motivational speaker, she discusses mental illness, eating disorders and the unique challenges facing young athletes, she resides between Wisconsin and California.
Profile Image for Deacon Tom F.
1,710 reviews129 followers
May 12, 2022
What a Ride

To say the least, this is one powerful book. It’s about an Olympian who changed her life to be a call girl in Vegas.

Throughout I was judging her as The one who is made some seriousLu large mistakes.

However, the finale put it all into perspective and actually had me to rethink my feelings towards this book.

It was a good one
Profile Image for Lulu.
199 reviews2 followers
July 18, 2016
An unlikable, self-centered woman tries to excuse her selfish, addictive behavior by using her bi-polar diagnosis. While focusing on herself yet again, she writes in great detail about her sexual exploits and never recognizing the hurt she caused.
Profile Image for Krusher Basta.
89 reviews4 followers
October 7, 2015
Wow, what a bizarre story. Suzy Favor Hamilton’s life story is not like a roller coaster. It is more like the Tea-Cup ride at Disney. Just goes to show you things are not always as they seem. Great looks and world class athletic ability are no guarantee of happiness.

I am a runner from the Midwest; the great state of Michigan. I am about 5 years older than Favor Hamilton. I certainly remember her years running for Wisconsin and her early professional career. Not just because I am a big fan of running, but hey, I am a shallow male and she is HOT!!!! When I first read the accounts of her being a professional escort (aka prostitute) in Las Vegas I was shocked. When this book came out I had to read it. However, I am a bit let down. She certainly seems to be forthcoming and honest, but it still doesn’t add up to me. She blamed her behavior on her undiagnosed bipolar disorder and incorrect medication, but what about her husband. It is completely beyond my imagination that any man could allow this second life to exist (she said she always gave him all the sultry details), especially with a young child in the picture. It was not being unconditionally loving and supportive, it was enabling. And, her life as an escort is purported to have occurred over a 1 year period. As I have already said, she is HOT, but how can a 40+ Mother from Wisconsin go to #2 on the rating list she refers to in that short period of time. Especially when she can only “work” when she escape from her regular life in Wisconsin to visit Las Vegas. Something is missing.

Finally, there is an error that I just cannot let slip. Maybe it was only in the Kindle edition, I do not know. In Chapter 5 she says her contract with Nike included a bonus if she ran the mile under four minutes, and that in 1998 at the Hercules Meet in Monte Carlo she actually ran sub-4 and received the bonus. No woman has ever run a sub 4 minute mile (they are about 15 seconds over). Obviously she meant to say the metric mile, and this is a simple typographical, or printing error. But the Mile, and to run it under 4 minutes, is just so sacred that I couldn’t let it pass unnoticed.

I genuinely wish Suzy Favor Hamilton, and her family, all the best. There clearly are problems, and this book ends only at the point when they are finally accurately identified. But as a memoir, this isn’t the very good. The writing is not the best (there are some sentences that begin in one chapter and do not seem to end until the next), but you cannot blame Suzy Favor Hamilton for that (there is a ghost writer listed on the cover, but I do not see any other reference to her). I suspect that there is another book to come.
Profile Image for Kelly.
223 reviews2 followers
October 13, 2015
Favor Hamilton seemed more interested in reliving the salacious details of her escort adventures than actually explaining how her mental illness drove her to them. She wrote as if her manic period lasted a year or longer without cycling into depression. I've never heard of a manic phase lasting more than six months or so. If she were really writing to help people understand her illness, why didn't she focus on questions about the illness instead of the behavior?
Profile Image for Santos.
175 reviews13 followers
November 29, 2021
So much to unpack here.

Fascinating story about a long struggle with mental illness. I’m sad that her sexuality was so intertwined with her illness and that she was so crucified for it.

Profile Image for Michael.
1,211 reviews111 followers
October 6, 2017
The best DVD commentaries come when the participants have had an opportunity to perspective thank to the passage of time. It allows for a more honest assessment of what worked, what didn't work and what could or should have done differently.

Listening to Suzy Favor Hamilton's Fast Girl, I kept feeling like I wish she'd allowed a little more time to pass before penning (or in this case ghost-writing) her autobiography. Hamilton spends large chunks of the book focusing on the highs she got from first competitive running and later as a high-end escort in Las Vegas and very little (if any time) focusing on the lessons she learned from these experiences or the consequences and/or impact on her life and the lives of her family and friends. While the salacious details of her year as one of the top escorts in Vegas may sell a few books, I walked away from this book feeling like Hamilton left a lot of unexamined issues and questions on the table.

With interstitial chapters devoted to the dangers of misdiagnosing and the stigma of bipolar disorder, I kept expecting something more about Hamilton's life after her diagnosis instead of the terse, "and then they diagnosed me as being bipolar." Hamilton spends a lot of time in the book lamenting that her parents and family wouldn't discuss the mental health issues that led to her brother's suicide and her behavioral extremes, but never really digs into how the diagnosis impacted her, how she got her life back on track and the consequences her extreme behavior and eventually outing by the Smoking Gun had on her life and her family.

While I'm sure this wasn't Hamilton's intention, I can't help but walk away from this book feeling that Hamilton is a self-absorbed diva who yearns for the spotlight and doesn't really care how what she does hurts those around her. I'd love to read a book from her husband's perspective on the mania and need for an emotional high that led to Suzy's creation of her alter-ego Kelly and her year spent trying to become the top-rated escort in Las Vegas and the world. The story of how this man, who apparently has the patience of Job, not only held together their family and their business is one that intrigues me, as is the question of why he didn't kick Suzy to the curb.

This memoir had some much potential to do a lot of good for the stigma associated with mental illness and its treatment. But at every turn, I couldn't help but feel like Hamilton was undermining that potential with a "look, look at me and what I could get away with!" mentality that practically shouts across each page.

There are also huge missed opportunities early in the book as well. Relating the story of her running career --both as a college and professional athlete -- Hamilton misses the boat time and again. Instead of delving into the rivalry she felt with other runners, she simply brings it up and drops it just as quickly. Instead of asking hard questions about how she got away with not doing the required coursework for her classes at the University of Wisconsin but instead skating by on loopholes given to athletes by professors, she comes across as proud that she got by without doing the work. She also brings up that she has a learning disability, but it's often used as a crutch in her life and in recounting her story.

Fast Girl is a memoir that only scratches the surface of who Suzy Favor Hamilton is. Instead of being a meaningful conversation starter about mental health and the stigma associated with it, it comes across as a shallow, ego-centric and unapologetic attempt by Hamilton to try and have the reader forgive her behavior -- and maybe to envy her a bit. She did manage to throw away multiple opportunities for success not only on the track but in life. And yet, there seems to have been little impact to her life beyond embarassment and her father telling her she needs to change her identity and move to another country.

All in all, this was a huge disappointment. I can't help but wonder if this memoir would been better served with a little time and perspective.
Profile Image for Laura.
44 reviews32 followers
September 14, 2015
Call me crazy, but I am massively interested in the "Why?" of people who turn to prostitution. Was it the money? The status? Why stay in the life?

Maybe because I'm not athletic in any way, shape, or form, I've never heard of Suzy Favor Hamilton. Her book provided a very interesting view into her years growing up and and how mental illness was treated in her family. It chronicles her triumphs and failures on and off the track, but doesn't do a very good job at really explaining the help she received and how her life changed after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I realize anything written about escorting has a certain level of salaciousness to it, but I felt that she went more for the shock value of her experiences rather than using them as an explication to how bipolar disorders work. I was a little disappointment in what she didn't share (treatment, repairing her life and marriage, etc) but then we live in an age of over-information. We think we are entitled to every section of a celebrity's life because they CHOSE to be a celebrity and it goes with the territory. I do realize that I am not entitled to any detail of her life that she isn't comfortable sharing and am amazed by the things she was willing to share.

Truth be told, I read this entire book cover to cover in a single day. Less than a day. It is a fascinating story and an engrossing read, even if some of my high (and selfish) expectations were not met.
Profile Image for Amy.
87 reviews9 followers
August 11, 2016
I don't feel like I can "rate" this book as it is an absolutely heartbreaking story about the authors real life. At times I was so angry reading this, I can't believe what she put her family through and as a mother myself, I couldn't imagine it. I wish they would have diagnosed her sooner so she didn't have to endure this awful pain. I am thankful she is healthy now, in body & mind. I hope her story helps someone else see potential signs of bi-polar disorder and that people don't read this story just to get all the juicy details. Because even though you get them, they are hard to read how men BUY these women and use them for sex, whether it's consensual or not.
Profile Image for Beth.
156 reviews
June 18, 2016
I realize that mental illness is a very devastating condition, and I feel for Favor Hamilton and many others who are undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. However, the bigger problem this author seems to have is narcissism. She brags about her glory days as a runner and her even more glorious days as a prostitute, while glossing over real issues like bulemia & abandoning her husband and child. This book seems to be another way of making herself the center of attention - it's very disturbing.
Profile Image for Natalie.
261 reviews4 followers
July 27, 2021
I thought this book was going to be more running related but it was more about her life and her bipolar diagnosis. She continues to push the limits and take on extremes. There was just as much sex talk as running.

I did enjoy it and there was an opportunity to learn more about bipolar disorder.
Profile Image for Jamie.
513 reviews3 followers
January 12, 2016
I hate writing reviews on books that are of actual people and their events and their perceptions, because it is judging someones experiences. I think the intent of the book was to express what it is like to have bipolar disorder, however the book is not about bipolar disorder. It seemed like it was just a chance to talk about exploits that she (Suzy) had, as half of the book focused on that. The other half focused on her running career. There was roughly a 2 page, "now I'm working through this, it was not me-it was the disease" (paraphrasing here). Believe it or not, I do have a good understanding of mental health and know that a lot of the actions one has are the disease and not the person, however this did nothing to help people understand mental health rather than just reinforce a stigma. I would love for her husband to write a honest book about his experience during this time. I had never heard of Suzy Favor Hamilton before, but I don't follow track. I was annoyed that she kept referring to being a "good girl from Wisconsin", that might just be because I am from Wisconsin. It seemed that she thought that being from Wisconsin should let her off the hook, be more sympathetic. Suzy does not come off sympathetic in this book, she came off whinny and "hypersensitive" (her words). Glad to be done with this book.
Profile Image for Kinyorda Sliwiak.
313 reviews
May 25, 2016
Initially, this book reads like Eat, Pray, Love or Wild- A woman has dramatic reactions to life events that everyone faces. But then you realize that Hamilton is sick and, unlike the other women, does not have a choice in how she reacts. I appreciate the honesty of the author with the things that she shared but felt like I was reading half a book. You know almost nothing about her husband's upbringing. What sort of trauma did he go through to make him an enabler for Hamilton's extreme behavior? In the conclusion of the book there is no summary of how her family dealt with the revelation, how she recovered and what her life is like now. It felt like someone edited this book to only include the extreme mania. Not a bad read but definitely leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 801 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.