Books come along every once and awhile that end up staying with you forever. Back in 2010, I read Chris Cleave’s, “Little Bee” and was blown away. That’s why when I heard a couple of months ago that he had written a new novel, I couldn’t wait to read it. The thing with a Chris Cleave novel is that you have to give it the time it deserves, because he’s an author that shouldn’t be read in small doses. His books are the kind of books that should be accompanied with a hot cup of coffee and an empty schedule. While reading his newest book “Gold“, I tweeted that I had a date scheduled with the book… well you know what, you can read the tweets for yourself:
1:38pm, May 24 from TweetDeck
Needless to say, I did have some one on one time with the book, my party dress and my cycling attire that evening. Here is some photographic evidence:
Okay NOW onto the book review… This is the a story about friendship, love, parenting and a lifelong pursuit of trying to achieve Olympic gold. Kate and Zoe meet when they both start training with an Olympic coach named Tom. It doesn’t take long for Tom to realize that the two girls, along with a young man named Jack all have Gold potential. But he can also tell that the young women are different people, Zoe has some demons in her closet that result in a “every man for himself” attitude, while Kate has a gentle and nurturing soul. Their differing personalities are not only reflected in their training, but also in their personal lives.
This story doesn’t just talk about their experiences in training to achieve gold, it delves into their journey on working towards climbing that podium. It jumps from past to present and so we are introduced to Jack and Kate’s child Sophie, who is a darling young girl faced with an uphill battle when diagnosed with leukemia. As Chris Cleave states in his author’s note in the back of the book, “Caring for sick children is the Olympics of parenting” and I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement. You have to have faith and be prepared to fight tooth and nail just like you would in training for the Olympics.
Over the course of the story, we become closely acquainted with Zoe, Kate and Jack, hearing from each character and understanding completely the pressures of love, determination, redemption and strength. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, book off an afternoon for this book, because it is a book you’re not going to want to put down.
If you’re in the Toronto area, you might be interested in attending the June 15th Luminato Event where both Chris Cleave and Vincent Lam will be examining the increasing dissolution of borders in 21st-century fiction.