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Pretty Good for a Girl

An Athlete’s Story

2000
Author:

Leslie Heywood

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The gripping story of one woman’s drive to win-now in paperback.

“A stirring account of one female athlete’s struggles in an arena defined by males. A rousing critique of what can go awry in the world of women athletes and a passionate plea to value sports for the sense of competence they can so often bring to young females.”–Kirkus

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How can a female athlete cope with all the challenges placed upon her? This poignant and vivid memoir reflects on these pressures, the lessons they can teach, and the damage they can do.

“Just in time for the upsurge in ‘girl power’ books comes this insightful yet disturbing sports memoir of a former Arizona high-school track and cross country star who soars to first place in races but spirals downward in her battle to win acceptance among her male peers, and to avoid eating disorders and exercise compulsion, to overcome an unhappy home life (an alcoholic father) and a destructive, sexual relationship with an unethical coach. This is a well-written account of the pressures teenage athletes face that can lead to self-abuse and destruction.” Booklist

The gripping story of one woman’s drive to win-now in paperback.

"Just in time for the upsurge in ‘girl power’ books comes this insightful yet disturbing sports memoir of a former Arizona high-school track and cross-country star who soars to first place in races but spirals downward in her battle to win acceptance among her male peers, to avoid eating disorders and exercise compulsion, to overcome an unhappy home life (an alcoholic father) and a destructive sexual relationship with an unethical coach. This is a well-written account of the pressures teenage athletes face that can lead to self-abuse and destruction." Booklist

"A stirring account of one female athlete’s struggles in an arena defined by males. A rousing critique of what can go awry in the world of women athletes and a passionate plea to value sports for the sense of competence they can so often bring to young females." Kirkus

How can a female athlete cope with all the challenges placed upon her? This poignant and vivid memoir reflects on these pressures, the lessons they can teach, and the damage they can do.


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Leslie Heywood is a competitive powerlifter and the author of several books, including Bodymakers (1998). She is associate professor of English at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Book Default Image

“Just in time for the upsurge in ‘girl power’ books comes this insightful yet disturbing sports memoir of a former Arizona high-school track and cross country star who soars to first place in races but spirals downward in her battle to win acceptance among her male peers, and to avoid eating disorders and exercise compulsion, to overcome an unhappy home life (an alcoholic father) and a destructive, sexual relationship with an unethical coach. This is a well-written account of the pressures teenage athletes face that can lead to self-abuse and destruction.” Booklist

“A stirring account of one female athlete’s struggles in an arena defined by males. A rousing critique of what can go awry in the world of women athletes and a passionate plea to value sports for the sense of competence they can so often bring to young females.” Kirkus

“Pretty Good for a Girl is Great! Powerful, compelling, uncensored. The disturbing truth about what happens to women who dare to be free.” Mariah Burton Nelson, author of Embracing Victory: Life Lessons in Competition and Compassion

“Written with a wild, stark language that mirrors the desert landscape she describes with hallucinatory vividness, Heywood’s Pretty Good for a Girl takes the reader inside the skin of a runner driven toward something much larger than stardom. This story of a search for the self, the boundaries of the human body, the nature of obsession, is an important one, and the questions it raises linger in the mind long after the book is closed.” Marya Hornbacher, author of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

“An as yet untold story of the struggles faced by a young female athlete. A supportive tale for all those who feel rejected by society’s norms.” Steven Levenkron, author of The Luckiest Girl in the World