Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Live Strong

Life’s biggest gifts often come in the most inconspicuous fashion. Their worth is realized only through the change they spark off. The change makes its presence felt gradually, through an experience of joy and suffering, grief and hope, which in turn force one to look within. For cyclist Lance Armstrong, life’s biggest gift was cancer.

In his autobiography "It's not about the bike" written with Sally Jenkins, Armstrong beautifully weaves the story of his self-actualization. The book is a narrative touching every aspect of his life right since his childhood to his rebirth. In the beginning, he greatly talks about the influence of his mother, his turbulent relation with his fathers and more importantly, his own discovery of the athlete in him. His career as a triathlete and cyclist is like a fairytale of successes and victories till reality strikes in the form of a fourth stage testicular cancer. His prognosis looks bleak with the cancer having spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen and doctors giving him a less than 40% chance of survival. The book takes the readers through the abysmal lows during the treatment to the highs which follow in the form of his Tour De France wins, his marriage to Kristin Richard, and the birth of his son, Luke. The book skillfully summarizes his journey before and after the disease, his metamorphosis from a brash bullish cyclist to the mature diligent competitor. Cycling for him post treatment is a means to a greater end, that of supporting other cancer patients across the world, through the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

In every aspect, Armstrong gives the readers a deep insight into the emotions and thoughts that run through his mind at various points during his fight against cancer, be it the shock of the diagnosis, the pains of the chemotherapy, the fear of death and moreover, the anxiety of never being able to do again what he loves the most. Time and again, he draws comparisons of his predicament with a cycling race, to make himself belief that he can win in this fight for life. The beauty of the book is the ability to make you feel every emotion that overwhelms him in a very simple yet evocative manner which is exactly the reason I strongly recommend it to you.

The story is an epitome of how an individual can find strength in adversity. It is about living strong. Like Armstrong says “Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, and a father.

PS: I had written it for a review at college. Thought I will share it with you all too.

Source: http://www.makingalife.com/book_covers/ItsNotAboutTheBike.jpg

9 comments:

Metallica bhakt! said...

This book is one of the rare books which kept me hooked. I learned sooo much about him,the Tour de France but more so about life. Its an incredible book.

vishesh said...

I don't read biographies and autobios...but maybe I should start reading some sooner rather than later :)

neilina said...

Hey, thanks for sharing and now this book is an addition to my book-shelf!

Nina Prasad said...

This is a brilliant review!! You had me hooked. I'm hunting for the book now.

priya said...

Good review. I too have never read biographies/autobiographies before. Maybe its time that I did!!

Pallavi said...

I want to read it now. Nice review.

Urvashi said...

nice message.. :) I wud surely read this book....

NEHA said...

hey...

i have never previously attempted reading autobiographies jus fiction in my case...

but the book report seems to be very appealing...

let me c if i can find its pdf and hav a read abt it...

ur blogging stlye diffrent...

plz a request 2 get rid of the word verification in ur comment section it can b a pain...

:)

The Illuminator said...

@MB
Glad you agree with me on this one!!

@all others
This is a good one to start with. You won't be disappointed.

@Neha
Different = good / bad?
Just a few more alphabets can't do much harm right? It is just a question of a few seconds.