Author: Chris Cleave
Published: July 3, 2012
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 336 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): Gold is the story of Zoe and Kate, world-class athletes who have been friends and rivals since their first day of Elite training. They’ve loved, fought, betrayed, forgiven, consoled, gloried, and grown up together. Now on the eve of London 2012, their last Olympics, both women will be tested to their physical and emotional limits. They must confront each other and their own mortality to decide, when lives are at stake: What would you sacrifice for the people you love, if it meant giving up the thing that was most important to you in the world?
My Thoughts: This was my first Chris Cleave novel and I was excited to read it, with the Olympics so close and all (I finished this about 2 weeks before the opening ceremonies). I had heard lots of good things about this writing and thought that this would be the perfect introduction and would get me in the mood for the Olympic Games. I don't know if it got me in the mood or made me a die hard fan, but I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Following two competitive cyclists and their dreams for Olympic gold one last time, Cleave tells a story of how these two women got to where they are and how they feel as they aspire to make it to the games one last time. While a little too much to handle at times, Cleave creates an intriguing story and one where you don't know who to root for, especially as the story of their pasts unravels even more.
I thought that the characters in this book were great. Zoe and Kate are wonderfully written and you can see their development throughout the novel. Jack, Kate's husband, is also well-written. Providing comic relief through the story and keeping it light-hearted when it was starting to become weighed down. Sophie is charming and you cannot help but light up whenever you read her passages. For me, the negative part of this book was the writing, but I do have to clarify. I thought that Cleave is a wonderful writer. No doubt in my mind about that. I felt like he would get bogged down in talking about the physical aspects of athletes: warm-ups, sprints, races, kits, lactic acid build-up. It just became a bit too technical at times and drew away from the story.
I will definitely try more of Chris Cleave's work in the future and hope that it isn't as technical in those books. Have you read any of Cleave's books? Let me know ... I would love to hear your take on them!