A Book Worth Reading: Gold by Chris Cleave

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I read Chris Cleave’s book Little Bee about a year ago.  It was beautifully written, touching, and haunting.  After updating it on my goodreads account, I added Cleave’s other books to my “To-Read” list.  When I came across Gold at the library, I recognized the cover and immediately added it to my checkout pile.

GoldThe book opens as Zoe is about to complete in her first Olympics in track cycling. Meanwhile, her good friend and rival, Kate is home with her infant daughter Sophie.  The story caught my attention at first but then I had a bizarre experience.  The second chapter heading is futuristic and the characters are obviously involved in some sort of Star Wars reenactment.  I kept trying to read this part of the book while dozing off in bed.  After a couple tries, I was downright confused about the plot of the book.  I’m not much for science fiction, so I put it aside for awhile and read other books.  Finally, I decided to try Gold again, but this time I read this sci-fi section while wide awake one morning. After a brief chapter, the storyline returns to what I expected.  Whew!

I’m so glad that I pushed through and gave this book it’s due, because it was great!  The descripter I used most often as I flew through the book was “riveting!”

Most of the story takes place eight years after the initial Olympic scene.  Zoe and Kate are preparing for their last Olympics and are each others’ greatest competition.  Kate and Jack (her cycling Olympic gold medalist husband) are balancing the demands of training and their daughter’s cancer treatments, the best they can.  These circumstances create scenes with strong emotional depth and interesting juxtapositions between the highs and lows of life.

The characters are extremely well developed and intriguing.  I love books that introduce me to a world that I’d previously known nothing about.  The setting of Olympic track cycling taught me a whole new set of athletic culture and vocabulary!  Also, the race scenes were exciting and suspenseful.

I’m looking forward to reading more by this captivating author!

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