Michael's Reviews > A Team of Their Own: How an International Sisterhood Made Olympic History

A Team of Their Own by Seth Berkman
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it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, favorites

I received an arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Every once in awhile I like to change things up with a good non-fiction book, and when I got the chance to request A Team of Their Own, it sounded like the perfect story to shake up the fiction and light novel binge I had been on.

Honestly I don't really follow hockey, but I do follow a lot going on in South Korea, as my love for their entertainment that blossomed in the early 2000s helped feed my interest to learn more about the country as a whole. I've even delved into a handful of books about the horrors of North Korea. So when the news hit before the Olympics started that North and South Korea would be fielding a unified team, I was intrigued yet skeptical. I figured this book would shed some light on if my skepticism was warranted.

Seth Berkman does a great job of really showcasing the personal stories of the ladies from South Korea and North America, as well as the way the bond together and become like sisters to one another. There were plenty of times where I definitely felt myself getting emotional at various moments, or even quotes of how the girls felt. I quickly became engrossed in seeing how all this played out leading up to the games. Sadly due to obvious reasons, we never really got to know much about the North Korean players like we did the others.

None of the stories in this book ever feel like filler, and even minor moments help to show how the girls interacted with each other. I loved seeing how many decided to look for personal growth outside of hockey, like learning English, or helping with a cause deal with fellow adopted children from South Korea, as a couple examples. It was really touching to see.

Not everything is touching, as there are plenty moments when you see just how neglected the team is, or how they are used for gain by the KIHA, men in charge, and politicians. I said I was skeptical about the North and South Korea unified team, and I was shocked reading how it was way worse when it came down to the politics of the matter than I could have thought. It actually made me get angry at the situation that the girls were put in.

I tried not to delve in to too much in terms of specifics, because I believe this is a very important read for people. It deals with a lot issues in terms of gender discrimination and inequality, but also in bonding and pushing back against those very constructs. It shows women bonding over a passion, women from North America learning to love a country they hadn't tried to fully get to know growing up, and women from S. Korea realizing their own thoughts on the "imports" were ill-conceived. Berkman does such a great job from start to finish in telling this story, and really digging in deep.

In what could have been an easy fluff peace about how miraculous it was all these women came together, he provided so much more depth. This is an introspective look in to these women's lives, passions, friendships, and the politics that surrounded them. You definitely will look at everything surrounding them in a different light.
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Reading Progress

August 28, 2019 – Started Reading
August 28, 2019 – Shelved
September 1, 2019 –
September 4, 2019 –
September 13, 2019 – Shelved as: non-fiction
September 13, 2019 – Shelved as: favorites
September 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

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