Review by Library Journal Review
WNBA star Griner's memoir explores her childhood, college basketball experience at Texas's Baylor University, and transition to playing professionally for the Phoenix Mercury. Examining serious issues such as body image, bullying, sexual identity, and gender, the author (b. 1990) traces her sometimes difficult journey toward gaining the freedom to fully express her individuality as a female athlete. While the six-foot-eight-inch tall Griner openly embraces both her self-image and her sexuality as a lesbian, she dealt with hurtful insults and bullying for years and struggled with anger as a result. The author gracefully addresses prickly topics including her views on Baylor's antihomosexuality policy and her challenging relationships with her father and with Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. Written in a straightforward, conversational tone, this autobiography feels accessible, openhearted, and genuine, although rather premature for such a young athlete. As a boundary-breaking figure in women's sports, Griner displays a determination to overcome the obstacles in her life that serves as a relatable, inspiring example for all those facing bullying. Verdict Best suited to general readers interested in basketball, bullying, LGBT issues, or female identity in sport. Readers may also enjoy Kate Fagan's The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians.-Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
The growing pains of a gay student athlete.With Hovey, Griner, the three-time All-American and No. 1 selection in the 2013 WNBA draft, writes a coming-of-age memoir about her struggle to live authentically. A bullied and despondent junior high school student in Houston, Texas, she wished away her height (she grew to 6 feet 8 inches tall), strength and tenacity, the traits that would soon make her a basketball phenomenon. Griner's adolescent voice is earnest, as when she writes that she didn't tell her parents the cruelties she endured "because my mom would get sad and my dad would get mad." She excelled at basketball in high school (a video of her dunking went viral), and her growing confidence gave her a sense of purpose; however, her misery continued when her overbearing father kicked her out of the house for being gay. Though colleges across the country heavily recruited her, she hastily chose Baylor University for its strong basketball program and close proximity to her ailing mother. However, given Baylor's ethical stance against homosexuality, some readers may question how an out lesbian could fail to do her due diligence and arrive on campus unaware of this policy. Griner resented head coach Kim Mulkey's insistence that she hide her sexuality, and despite leading her team to a national championship in her junior year, she continued to feel "a growing sense that who I amneeded to be hidden away in order for me to survive my time at Baylor." This revelation will not come as a shock. Since leaving Baylor, Griner has become an advocate for LGBTQ youth, assuring them that "the rewards of being authentic far outweigh the risks." Though averagely written, Griner delivers an important message, particularly for young adults, about embracing your uniqueness. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.