Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book review - rereading Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

Some times there is a book that has to be read more than once. A book that should be handed to every one who is interested in watching or doing a sport. This is one of those books.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes - The making and breaking of elite gymnasts and figure skaters is that kind of a book. More than other sports, figure skating and gymnastics are sports where every thing rides on appearance. Judges judge not on how high you soar, on how fast you make a run, but on how good you look while doing it. Woman, girls really are encouraged to stay freakishly small, to delay as long as possible changing from a girl to a woman. Many young woman end up delaying the start of menstruation, or worse, becoming anorexic. The author, Joan Ryan pays special attention to two young woman who ended up loosing their lives, one in a horrid accident, the other, organ failure brought on by anorexia.

Julissa Gomez was only 16 years old when she broke her neck trying a complex vault. She went into a coma and died three years later. An even sadder case is Christy Henrich who was only 70 pounds when she died in 1993.

This book was written in 1995, and I think it is long over due for a new addition. That and perhaps being mandatory reading for any parent of a figure skater or gymnast.

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