June 30, 2012

Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu

Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu is a revealing memoir by one of America’s best gymnasts to compete in the Olympics. At only fourteen years old she earned a gold medal, but her journey to get there was not as supportive as many may have been lead to believe. In this memoir, she is finally able to tell the truth about the world of competitive gymnastics, and also reveals a major life secret that her family kept from her until recently.

Book Description
At fourteen years old, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team, the first and only American women’s team to take gold at the Olympics. Her pixyish appearance and ferocious competitive drive quickly earned her the status of media darling. But behind the fame, the flawless floor routines, and the million-dollar smile, her life was a series of challenges and hardships.

Off Balance vividly delineates each of the dominating characters who contributed to Moceanu’s rise to the top, from her stubborn father and long-suffering mother to her mercurial coach, Bela Karolyi. Here, Moceanu finally shares the haunting stories of competition, her years of hiding injuries and pain out of fear of retribution from her coaches, and how she hit rock bottom after a public battle with her parents.

But medals, murder plots, drugs, and daring escapes aside (all of which figure into Moceanu’s incredible journey), the most unique aspect of her life is the family secret that Moceanu discovers, opening a new and unexpected chapter in her adult life. A mysterious letter from a stranger reveals that she has a second sister—born with a physical disability and given away at birth—who has nonetheless followed in Moceanu’s footsteps in an astonishing way.

A multilayered memoir that transcends the world of sports, Off Balance will touch anyone who has ever dared to dream of a better life.” – Off Balance

My Thoughts
Off Balance is not your average memoir of an Olympic athlete about how they got to the top of their career and won the gold. Though Moceanu did in fact win the gold, this is not the main focus of her story. I applaud her for writing such an honest and revealing memoir about her life and the sport of gymnastics.

I found this to be a very easy to read memoir that was truly captivating enough to read rather quickly. Once I started reading the real story about one of my childhood heroes, I was hooked and couldn’t stop. Moceanu is by far one of my favorite gymnastics, and after reading her story, I am even more amazed by her today and consider her one of the top females I admire. She is a true inspiration and I hope that the young gymnasts starting out learn from her example, and can look up to the positive role model that she is.

This is an excellent memoir that I highly recommend for everyone to read that is involved in sports or enjoys watching the Olympics, especially gymnastics. The 2012 London Olympics starts in July and this would be a fantastic book to read before watching the gymnastics portion of the Olympics.

* Thank you to the publisher of Off Balance, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Anonymous said...

I saw her in the Olympics that year in Atlanta - great performance! I haven't exactly followed her career but she is an inspirational woman that is for sure! I'll check the book out.

Mandy said...

I so want to get this book! TY for sharing!

Lucy said...

I have several books on my 'to be read shelf' but I am gonna get this and read it next. I love gymnastics and the timing is perfect!

Steph said...

I am going to get this book!

Anonymous said...

Great booK!

Anonymous said...

I just had the librarian get this book for me to read ASAP! Thanks for this inspiring review Sheri!