The growing pains of a gay student athlete.
With Hovey, Griner, the three-time All-American and No. 1 selection in the 2013 WNBA draft, writes a coming-of-age memoir about her struggle to live authentically. A bullied and despondent junior high school student in Houston, Texas, she wished away her height (she grew to 6 feet 8 inches tall), strength and tenacity, the traits that would soon make her a basketball phenomenon. Griner's adolescent voice is earnest, as when she writes that she didn’t tell her parents the cruelties she endured "because my mom would get sad and my dad would get mad." She excelled at basketball in high school (a video of her dunking went viral), and her growing confidence gave her a sense of purpose; however, her misery continued when her overbearing father kicked her out of the house for being gay. Though colleges across the country heavily recruited her, she hastily chose Baylor University for its strong basketball program and close proximity to her ailing mother. However, given Baylor's ethical stance against homosexuality, some readers may question how an out lesbian could fail to do her due diligence and arrive on campus unaware of this policy. Griner resented head coach Kim Mulkey's insistence that she hide her sexuality, and despite leading her team to a national championship in her junior year, she continued to feel "a growing sense that who I am…needed to be hidden away in order for me to survive my time at Baylor." This revelation will not come as a shock. Since leaving Baylor, Griner has become an advocate for LGBTQ youth, assuring them that "the rewards of being authentic far outweigh the risks."
Though averagely written, Griner delivers an important message, particularly for young adults, about embracing your uniqueness.