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Open Heart, Open Mind

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,614 ratings  ·  194 reviews
The long-awaited memoir by Canada’s most celebrated Olympian and advocate for mental health.

In 2006, when Clara Hughes stepped onto the Olympic podium in Torino, Italy, she became the first and only athlete ever to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games. Four years later, she was proud to carry the Canadian flag at the head of the Canadian team as they partici
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Touchstone (first published September 8th 2015)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,614 ratings  ·  194 reviews

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Ron S
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An unusual and above average memoir from Canada's first athlete to win medals at both summer and winter Olympic Games. Athletes are usually raised in a bubble and are as dull as dishwater for it. Hughes has lived a life for more interesting than that, which she shares with honesty and clarity. Her work with Right to Play and as a spokesperson for mental health issues is included here, as well as her early years growing up in Winnipeg, and unconventional relationship with her husband Peter. Highl ...more
Elisabeth Manley
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love reading athlete's biographies, and for once it wasn't a male hockey player so it was actually written pretty well too. Throw in Olympic race stories and I'm hooked. But Clara goes further than her career and doesn't shy away from her history with mental illnesses which was a nice honest read from a famous athlete.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes offers readers a look at the woman behind the name, digging deeper than the strength and determination for which she was so well known. In this quasi-autobiography/memoir, Hughes offers a glimpse into her life as an elite athlete as well as the struggles she faced throughout her career. Growing up in Winnipeg, Hughes faced a number of obstacles at an early age, including an alcoholic father whose love was offset with a broken household. From this, Hughes drifted in ...more
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
3.5 stars (good read)

I found I was more interested in Clara Hughes the person rather than Clara Hughes the athlete. I am glad I decided to read this book and thank Clara for sharing her story.
Sep 09, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
Clara Hughes is an amazing athlete - my hero. Can't wait to read this one!
Aranya Iyer
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Inspiring and well-written. Easy to read...maybe too easy to read? I wish there was more detail and more development than just a layout of facts and schedules. It would be very very very cool to kind of peer into Clara's brain and thoughts more throughout the Olympic journey. But overall, great read and would recommend to all, especially, teenage girls.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
not going to lie, was a bit disappointed with this book. I heard about it via CBC radio and was intrigued but ultimately found it lacking in emotional depth. if I am honest with myself i found it to be a bit boring d/t being so detailed about mundane things. I feel like she only scratched the surface of the emotional/mental health issues she wrestles with in this book...I was hoping she would take us deeper and allow herself to be even more vulnerable. I enjoyed learning more about the Olympics ...more
I am grateful to Clara Hughes for having the courage to share her story and her truth. Very moving and inspiration book. I feel badly, because I really would like to give more details on my thoughts about this book. But it is published by one of the big five publishers.

Note: I used togive full reviews for all of the books that I rated on GR. However, GR's new giveaway policies (Good Reads 2017 November Giveaways Policies Changes) have caused me to change my reviewing decisions. These new GR poli
Ryan Furlong
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Clara Hughes is perhaps my favourite Olympian of all time. I had wanted to read her autobiography for a long time and I am happy that I managed it get around to it during the Winter Olympics. Her experience at six Olympic games were very intriguing and exciting to read. However, it was her personal struggles that really made me see Hughes in a different light. Sharing stories of her dark past from addiction, family problems, and depression, I could not help but be shocked to know the real story ...more
Mark Lisac
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A moving reminder: that famous people may be far different than they look like in the glare of publicity; that anyone may have to live with anxieties or torments; that traumas are often inflicted on younger generations by older ones; that torments can be coped with or possibly even overcome. Hughes apparently saw this book as a way to help others having mental or emotional difficulties; it should at least inspire many. There could have been more detail about training and the athlete's life. A ch ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Fast, engaging memoir by Canadian Olympian Hughes, who has triumphed at both Summer and Winter Olympics despite a troubled youth and mental health challenges. I was not a sporty kid by any stretch of the imagination, and was interested to read about how transformative involvement in sports can be for kids, both for Hughes herself and for the children she has reached out to through her charitable endeavours.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019readingwomen
For the 2019 Reading Women challenge, one of the items was a book about a female athlete. While I'm not terribly interested in sports, Clara's story is inspiring. She's an admirable person, both for her athletic achievements, her advocacy work, and her honesty in confronting her history of childhood trauma and mental health issues.
An interesting look into Clara’s life, told frankly and bluntly, without flourishes, rose coloured glasses, or an abundance of pride. Just straight forward, this is what Clara’s lived experience has been. I enjoyed her rather stream of conscious writing, and found her life to be quite interesting as she shared it.

Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Raw and real - not just the smiling redhead draped in Olympic medals that most of Canada knows.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly brave and honest memoir.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clara Hughes could have had a very different life. Her family situation was a scary place to be and she began the downward spiral but her love of skating pulled her away from the alcohol and drugs. Pushing her body to unimaginable limits to achieve sports ultimate achievement - several Olympic medals. Sadly mental health issues plagued her even in her hours of glory. A wonderful and fascinating read.
Jennifer Rayment
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Good Stuff
Even though her life has been tough at times, there is no self pity or blame
Fascinating background in the day to day training involved in a competitive athletes life
Likeable, honest writing. Feels like you are listening to a friend tell a story
Admire her for what she has accomplished with her life, especially her work with Right to Play and Bell Canada Lets Talks
Found it interesting what goes on during the Olympics
Speaks very openly about addiction and mental illness
Loved her Dad e
Teena in Toronto
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Clara Hughes is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater, who has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. She is tied with Cindy Klassen as the Canadian with the most Olympic medals, with six medals total. She is one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

Because of her success in sports and her humanitarian efforts, Hughes was named to both the Order of Manitoba and as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She is involved with Right To Play, which is an at
Paula Dembeck
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Every Canadian knows Clara Hughes, the curly red head with the winning smile who won medals at both the summer and winter Olympic Games for cycling and speed skating. Clara is an accomplished athlete who overcame many issues growing up in a difficult home. She created a successful award winning life in sport although she still faces problems that stem from her difficult past.

In this memoir, Clara shares details of her youth during which stealing, skipping school, drinking and drugs played a part
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Clara Hughes is a compelling, Canadian athlete, whose accomplishments are unmatched. Her book starts of very compelling and seems to whither away by the end. This book is more of a memoir than a biography, although, at times, these lines blur.

I really wanted to learn more about her family and how she dealt with these complicated relationships, but for reasons unclear, perhaps protecting their privacy, we learn only cursory information about her family members. Her Dad was an angry alcoholic, her
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was pleased to receive Clara's book through a GoodReads Giveaway. I am so impressed by Clara and her openness to share her difficult family background and struggle with depression. Her ability to cope with that depression through sport is somewhat astounding for me, as do not have that same drive and determination. Clara is an inspiration for so many reasons, and this book tells us why. She is open, honest and humble. The book is well balanced between her sport and personal life, and is very r ...more
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pros: appropriate level of swearing, held my interest the whole read even though I'm not into sports/long distance anything, did not hold anything back. Enjoyed the local colour, she grew up one neighbourhood over from my own.

One con: I died a little when she talked about a cycling accident where she took off her "Oakley sunglasses" and I immediately googled and found out they are one of her sponsors. I know Canadian athletes get the short end of the funding stick but in your memoir??

Otherwise g
Katie Meyer-Robinson
I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by this book. It was different than I expected. Clara is different than I expected. I didn't realize she had such a troubled past and her accomplishments (first Canadian to win medals in both the winter and summer Olympics) are amazing given everything she went through. I liked learning about Right to Play and the Olympics but, overall, found it to be a bit boring.
Gina Morphy
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When a book makes you weep within the first ten pages, you know it's going to be a good one. Similarly, when it's written by one of your heroes, how can it go wrong? Clara's tales from her troubled adolescence to her Olympic highlights and work with Right To Play and Bell Let's Talk are inspiring as ever. Although I will never be an Olympic athlete, I can share in the triumphs and tribulations that come with competitive sport, as well as the major come-down of retirement. Truly a great read!
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I wasn't all that interested when I received this book. However, my decision to make an effort to read more memoirs and biographies made me push through and get it going. What a pleasant surprise! I never expected it to be a story of such struggle. Clara Hughes has over come so many obstacles, and was honest and open about her choices, good and bad. Definitely an inspiration, and a good read!
Twila Martin
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is one of those books that I will keep forever to read again and again whenever I need inspiration. Clara's story is thought provoking, sometimes crazy and a great read! Any parent of any athlete who has ever competed at a higher level will seem some very striking resemblances
Sport, depression, body image, growing up in families with alcoholism and anger management issues. I might empathise with a number of these issues. also, holy crap Hughes is a fantastic multisport athlete! the writing isn't fancy, but it is honest.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read. I knew very little about Clara Hughes, and the inside look at her life was entertaining, informative, and enlightening.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this as a e-book for my tablet from the provincial electronic website. I enjoyed reading it. Clara went through a lot growing up and in the end had a good Olympic career.
Evelyn Swift (Featherbrained Books)
Yay! Just won this book through the goodreads giveaway! I can't wait to receive, read and review it!

Thanks Goodreads team and Simon & Schuster Canada!
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SCPL Online NonFi...: Final Thoughts 1 10 Oct 28, 2016 09:07AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Giving Back 3 9 Oct 28, 2016 08:55AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Amateur vs. Professional Athletes 5 14 Oct 28, 2016 08:48AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Travel Bug? 3 8 Oct 28, 2016 08:43AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: * Canada's Olympian 5 15 Oct 28, 2016 08:39AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Mental Health 1 6 Oct 14, 2016 10:05AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Competition 1 7 Oct 07, 2016 08:33AM  

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Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes became the only athlete to win multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter Games. She is a member of the Order of Manitoba and an officer of the Order of Canada, has received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Hughes is the national spokesperson for Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk initiative, a campaign dedicated t ...more

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