I could not put this book down for a moment. As a fellow retired gymnast and teammate of Rachel’s, this book hits home because of the honesty with which she tells her story. Rachel courageously confronts her experience with convicted sexual offender Larry Nassar and the abuse of power within the sport. At the same time, she acknowledges the lessons she learned and wrestles with her overall feelings towards gymnastics, something all former gymnasts must do. This is a must-read that will make you cry, laugh, and most importantly... think.
The cover reads “abused” but when you read the contents you’ll learn Rachel Haines is “unbreakable.” While others might fold in the face of career-altering injuries and continuous abuse, Haines never backed down. From the first word to the closing sentiments, you are invited to relive her most vulnerable moments and heal along with her. An empowering story from a warrior of an author, this is a must-read for young athletes and women everywhere.
This is so much more than just a story about gymnastics. It is a vibrant memoir, a look behind the curtain, a transparent self-analysis, and a call to action. Rachel has taken years of turmoil and pain and translated it into a moving story. We are there with her on the floor, on the beam, in practice, in moments of doubt, and moments of triumph. It is an enrapturing book which provides a catharsis for its author and a necessary wake-up call for gymnastic culture, sports culture, and our larger society as whole. Go on this journey with Rachel, you will not be left unchanged.
Rachel's words give readers a glimpse of what it was like to grow up in the gymnastics world, the challenges faced, and the toxicity of the culture that evolved and that was tolerated for so long. She graciously leads you through her story of innocence, joy, hardship, sexual abuse, uncertainty, acceptance, growth, and the raw emotion felt throughout the process. Her vulnerability is inspiring, her perspective is encouraging, and her call to action is something to stand behind. #NoMore
This book is a powerful reflection of Rachel’s challenges in the gymnastics world. Knowing Rachel for years, I never would have guessed the pain she has experienced. She continues to be a strong and positive individual, and I commend her for coming forward with her story. This is a must-read that will bring you to tears of both heartbreak for her hardships and joy for her growth along the way.
I couldn’t put this down! The pain, disbelief, and darkness Rachel has gone through is something unforgettable. As a former gymnast, I can relate with her as she takes you through the lessons and hardships gymnastics can teach you. Being an athlete takes sacrifice and pain, but Rachel explains the culture of gymnastics perfectly in her book. She makes you laugh, cry, and reflect through ups and downs on her journey as you learn about her powerful reflection of the gymnastics world and the challenges that come with it.
I just read the whole book in one sitting and it moved me to tears. As a fellow gymnast who has gone through the entire USA Gymnastics Program (level 3 through the Olympics and NCAA), there were numerous instances when Rachel describes life as a student-athlete that I could 100% relate to. Her attention to detail can almost make you, the reader, feel her pain, both physically and emotionally. This memoir is an emotional deep-dive into what can happen "behind-the-scenes" of gymnastics, and while every gymnast's career is completely unique to them, the overall culture of USA Gymnastics that we've seen up to this point HAS TO CHANGE in order for this to NEVER happen again. I stand with all of the survivors and hope they are all finding their paths toward healing. You are so incredibly strong.
What was it like to be “treated” by Larry Nassar, the now-infamous molester? Confusing. Like her supportive parents and coach, Haines, who trained at an elite Michigan gym and later competed for the University of Minnesota, trusted the USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician. Wrongly so. . . . In this remarkably mature memoir, the 23-year-old also addresses the problems that accrue when a single individual holds so much power, and she shares her appreciation for all that she learned from gymnastics: balance, coordination, a strong work ethic, perseverance, and courage.
After surviving the most notorious sexual predator in sports history, former gymnast Haines tells her life story and takes us behind the scenes of a sport in which most athletes retire at a young age. Her childhood love of gymnastics led to a college scholarship and success on the national level. As a young teenager, though, Haines came under the treatment of Larry Nassar. How Nassar gained her trust, sabotaged her self-confidence, and exploited her identity as a gymnast is shared, as is Haines's inspirational recovery and courageous final courtroom statement to her abuser. Written with great personal dignity, this memoir stands as a new-generation counterpart to Joan Ryan's landmark exposé Little Girls in Pretty Boxes; a cautionary, ultimately hopeful story of deep betrayal and enduring personal strength. VERDICT Now retired after a successful gymnastics career, Haines reveals not only her experiences as an elite young athlete but also the devastating effects of the serial abuse that she suffered in plain sight. Transcending sports, this is an introspective and motivating account is highly recommended for all public library collections.—Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT