A serious reader could not have missed hearing about this book. It has been making news ever since it has been written. I too heard of it but never felt the urge to pick it up and read it. On my recent library visit, I picked this book up for lack of any other choice. I am glad I did it because this was one inspirational read I have done since a long time.
The book is written by Lance Armstrong, a cyclist. It is about his fight against cancer and survival. The author was diagnosed with cancer just when he was at the peak of his career. He was at the advanced stage and had to undergo multiple surgeries and multiple sessions of chemotherapy. The surgeries and chemotherapy drained out the last ounce of energy from his body and left him almost dead. He bounced back and entered the Tour de France and won it and went on to win three more of them. This book is his journey from diagnosis of cancer and his winning the Tour de France.
Armstrong could have easily adapted a tone of feeling sorry to win the sympathy of the world. Instead, he puts up a brave face and wants the world to be motivated by his fight. For Armstrong, the focus is on the fight and the ultimate bouncing back rather than the cancer and the suffering. This I feel is the best part of the book. The tone of the book is one of courage and not of self-pity. This is what made the book work for me.
The book starts with Armstrong’s childhood. He talks about his father abandoning his mother and how his mother struggled to run the house and pay his fees. Armstrong shares a strong bond with his mother and that is evident from the very beginning. They understand each other very well and you wish you had that kind of relationship with your mom. The book goes on to trace Armstrong’s journey as an amateur cyclist and his turning pro. It takes an emotional turn when Armstrong is diagnosed with cancer. His surgeries, his chemotherapy sessions, the way he and his mom read and read about cancer to gain knowledge in order to fight it out – all this makes for a motivating read. The book continues about his recuperation and his decision to get back to professional racing, his wavering between states of self-confidence and depression. There is even a detailed section on IVF, where Armstrong talks openly about his experience.
The book was easy and quick to read. This may not the best book I have read, but it will remain in my memory for a long time. If you are going through a low phase in your life and need some pepping up, this is the book for you.