I bought a hardback copy of this book for £1! I never read hardbacks because they are too expensive (and turns out, not as comfortable to hold) but I couldn’t resist this one for £1, plus it was a book that I had been recommended on Goodreads a few years back. The first thing I noticed was that this book had no blurb, it just told me that Chris Cleave was one of the greatest writers ever who wrote about life-changing things and that it was so great that this book didn’t even need a blurb. It is a bit egotistical for a book to consider itself too good for a blurb but it did intrigue me.
Chris Cleave is an intelligent and well written writer, but not the best ever. I like the way he described everything in his story, things that the average writer would overlook. These small personal touches were nice though and it made me feel more involved in the novel. The story starts in reverse, as in, it begins at the end. As the book goes on we go back and see how the story has led to that moment. It was interesting and fun to read.
I loved the characters. There was a real diversity of personalities and they worked together well. The story showed that different types of people can all achieve their own dreams in their own way. The main characters were Olympic cyclists, which I admit I have no interest in at all. But reading about their careers didn’t bore me and also didn’t confuse me, which I appreciated as I know nothing about professional cycling. I usually view Olympians as being great, powerful beings but this book showed that they are all ordinary people and experience the same as everyone else. It showed the highs and the lows of everyone’s life and was quite touching.
There were a few surprises as the story went on and it did worry me a few times that it was leading to an unhappy ending. I won’t tell you if the ending was happy or sad but the story definitely leads you to think it will end very sadly.
I think this book is beautifully written and examines the difficult areas of peoples lives. The little girl, Sophie, has leukemia. But her story wasn’t sad, it was real. It showed the strength in the people suffering and how powerful and amazing people can be.
I would say this book is definitely worth a read as it is uplifting and very very real. You feel included in the story despite not ever having any similar situation as the characters.
Favorite character: Kate