Monday, January 30, 2017

Shannon Miller: My Child, My Hero

Shannon Miller: My Child, My Hero. Claudia Ann Miller. 1999. 320 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I gazed in near disbelief as my daughter Shannon sat stunned on a blue mat on the floor of the cavernous Georgia Dome with more than thirty thousand fans gasping in the stands and millions more watching on the television.

Premise/plot: The book is Claudia Miller's biography of her daughter, Shannon Miller, a world-famous, super-decorated gymnast from the 1990s. The book shares her experiences (as a mother, as gymnastics judge, as a Christian Scientist) as much as Shannon's experiences. This is good in that it gives readers a behind the scenes glimpse into the daily lives of the Millers. This is bad in that it shifts the focus from Shannon Miller herself at times. (It reads more like an autobiography of Claudia Miller than a biography of Shannon Miller).

Readers do learn in great detail about Shannon Miller's life practically from the first time she ever jumped on a trampoline in the early 1980s until 1998 when the book was published. More time is spent on the 1992 Olympics than the 1996 Olympics. Every meet--no matter how big, no matter how small--gets some attention in this one. One cannot help but be struck by how much WORK went on behind the scenes. A lot of attention is paid to her coaches, her training, her injuries, etc.

I was surprised in a way HOW much of this one focuses on the fact that Shannon and Claudia are Christian Scientists. Every time (practically) that Shannon consulted a Christian Science practitioner, readers hear of it in this biography.

My thoughts: I definitely liked this one. Shannon Miller was definitely my favorite, favorite gymnast from this time period. I followed the sport of gymnastics as closely as I could at this time. I was interested in learning more.

You can tell this one is written by her biggest, biggest fan, her mom. You can tell when she gets defensive or upset. For example, she got upset that Kerri Strug got all the media attention at the 96 games. She felt her daughter deserved more attention and more recognition. (And her bitterness had not dissipated two years later when this book was published.)

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Alyssa Nelson 3:04 PM  

This sounds really interesting. I was in gymnastics in 1996 and loved watching the Olympics, and especially watching the US team dominate. I think it's so important to read about behind-the-scenes stuff; we tend to idealize things like going to the Olympics and don't necessarily recognize all the sacrifice and work that goes into that.

Thanks so much for sharing! I think I need to pick up a copy of this.

Alyssa @ Purple People Readers

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