Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Review: Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu

Off Balance: A MemoirOff Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Off Balance, by Dominique Moceanu, seemed a bit...off balance. It goes back and forth between the story of Moceanu discovering the existence of, and later, meeting, the sister her parents gave up for adoption because she was born without legs, and the "inside" story of Dominique's gymnastic career. That structure left me feeling off balance. I found myself wishing for more detail and resolution of the many threads that wove through these stories.

I initially read the book more for the story of the reconnection between the 2 sisters, and ended up more interested in the story of the abuse as perpetrated by Dominique's father and the famous Bela Karolyi. I will never look at gymnastics, or indeed, any pro sport, quite the same again. What price are we asking elite athletes to pay for our entertainment? I have long asked this question, and this book validates my concerns.

It is a shame that so many people knew of her father's "temper" and of Karolyi's mistreatment, and did nothing. The end of the book reveals the fact that the Karolyis (both Bela and Marta) control gymnastics more today than ever.

I hope that people listen closely to Ms. Moceanu's concerns.



2 comments:

Sr. Ann Marie Slavin said...

I'd definitely like to read it. I remember when she was competing when she was a young teen. My main memory was not about her skill as a gymnast but of the fact that she always looked so sad.

Dymphna said...

Exactly, Sister. I always wondered if anyone else noticed that. She really did seem to have a deep sadness about her.

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