Friday, August 10, 2012

Gold by Chris Cleave

Gold by Chris Cleave

As a fan of Chris Cleave's previous two novels, and a strong follower of the Olympics, I eagerly awaited his newest novel, Gold. With the thirtieth Olympiad drawing near, I chose to read this book as the games began in London.

Three track cyclists, all three bound together by the most tedious of circumstances, train for the Olympic games. Zoe, damaged and selfish, takes her aggression and sadness out on the bike rather than facing her demons head on. Kate, her best friend who always seems to take second place in the duo, is so kind that she has been taken advantage of more times than she can count in her life. She has lost more than one gold metal picking up after Zoe's fallen pieces. And Jack, the man whose decisions shape these women's lives forever, seems to not believe how he got into his position in life. Not only is this story about these three cyclists, but the true soul of the story is based upon Jack and Kate's StarWars loving 8 year old girl, Sophie, who fights for her life from Leukemia's tight grasp.

The first half of the story was disappointing to me. I was used to Cleave's novels and their striking themes straight from the get go. This one took some warm up time to get the plot spinning on its wheels (pun intended). Once I read to the halfway point, I couldn't put the book down. I thought the book was going to turn out one way, but Cleave surprised me so much that my hand came to my mouth as I gasped out loud at my surprise.

Gold had me cheering, crying, screaming, cringing, and sighing with relief. I loved and hated the 3 main characters as they made choices which complicated their personal and athletic lives. Sophie's spunk reminded me of the resiliency of the human spirit. Fans of Cleave will experience an Olympiad of emotions in this captivating read.

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