BIG GIRL IN THE MIDDLE by Gabrielle Reece


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 The slight story of big-girl Reece, the 6'3', 170-lb. model and captain of Nike's Women's Beach Volleyball Team. In chapters that alternate between Reece's first-person account and co-author and novelist Karbo's (Trespassers Welcome Here, 1989) description of one not-too-successful summer on the pro beach volleyball tour, we learn both more and less than we'd like about the stunning athlete. Her mother, a circus dolphin trainer, left her with friends from the age of two until the age of seven. Reclaimed by her newly remarried mother, Reece (already five feet tall) began a somewhat peripatetic existence, moving from Long Island to St. Thomas, back to New York, and then to Florida over the next ten years. Reece began playing volleyball and modeling seriously in college, but she felt her modeling career was on the decline by the time she was 21; she stood out too much in a business that required a more chameleon-like look from its supermodels. And she discovered that volleyball was more satisfying than modeling. The only thing she yearns for in her pro ball career is a first-place finish for her team, something Nike has not yet accomplished. The book is an easy read, although the insights are limited (``Using sex as a tool is a sure way for a woman to fail to command respect'') and the life described not remarkably eventful (Reece is only 26 years old). The sports scenes also leave something to be desired, as in the description of the climactic game against the Paul Mitchell team (Hair vs. Shoes). Two-plus pages of ``NIKE 10 serving 7. NIKE--net violation. Side out. Paul Mitchell 7 serving 10. Point, Paul Mitchell 8-10. Side out'' can get a little tiresome. Not much appeal beyond the hardcore beach volleyball enthusiasts set. (16 pages color photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-517-70835-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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