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Review: Hope Solo by Hope Solo

Title: Hope Solo: My Story
Author: Hope Solo
Year Published: 2012

Genre: YA non-fiction
Pages: 246
Rating: 4 out of 5

Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (Washington) and various locations around the world

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): The Olympic gold medalist and starting goalkeeper for the US women's national soccer team gives readers behind-the-scenes details of her life on and off the field. Solo offers a fearless female role model for the next generation, driven to succeed on her own terms. Young fans will truly be inspired by Hope's repeated triumphs over adversity. Her relentless spirit has molded her into the person she is today--one of the most charismatic athletes in America.

Review: I was pleased when I saw this book show up from Junior Library Guild since I always enjoy a good sports story and one with a strong female is even better. By the end of the book I do have a few mixed feelings about it though.

Hope's story is one of triumph, to be sure. I don't want to give away all the details of her childhood, but there are definitely issues in her household that she had to deal with. The biggest issue for Hope, which also becomes her biggest inspiration, is her father. He leaves the family early on, finally disappearing all together for years. When she reconnects with him, it is only to discover that he is homeless. I found their relationship really interesting as Hope doesn't try to change him or his situation, rather she works within it, visiting him at his tarp tent in the woods. In the end they have a very supportive, strong and interesting relationship, which I enjoyed reading about.

Soccer is one of those sports that I can actually read about and not get bored so the soccer scenes in this book worked for me. If you are not a huge soccer fan, you can skim the game descriptions (which aren't that many) and not feel like you've completely missed out.

The road to "fame" in women's soccer is not an easy one since soccer is a lesser sport in the US and women's soccer even more so. I found these parts of the story very interesting: the struggles of the professional leagues, training to get onto the squads, training with other women, and traveling around the world for international competition.

The thing that struck me as odd and really says more about me and our society than Hope Solo is that she is very confident in herself and her accomplishments. She comes off as cocky and arrogant. At first this really bothered me, but then I realized she was just stating the facts. Women in this country tend to learn from an early age not to tout our own horn, to be modest, and Hope Solo does the opposite. She relishes in her successes. So I am glad I read this since it really got me thinking about our approach to girls and how to respond when they are strong, fast, and/or really good at something. I am raising my daughter to be that way and to acknowledge when she is good at something so that she doesn't play that irritating game of "I am not good at..." which means she is fishing for compliments. That drives me crazy when girls do that. Boys and men are taught to believe in themselves and we should too.

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