The mother of renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong tells her own story, looking back on years filled with childhood poverty, teenage pregnancy, a disapproving mother, an alcoholic father, workplace hurdles, abusive husbands—and lots of love flowing to and from her son.
Fifty-year-old Kelly (the name she took from her current husband, number four) grew up in Dallas housing projects without amenities. She performed well in the classroom and in extracurricular activities, however, until becoming involved with one of the fast guys. Pregnant at 16, giving birth to Lance at 17, Kelly convinced the biological father to marry her. But he was frequently irresponsible and restless, eventually leaving his wife and son. Without any college education, Kelly struggled to find secretarial jobs that would pay the bills, and, after years of proving herself in the workplace, she became a telecommunications company executive with vast responsibilities. Proving herself in the world of marriage turned out to be harder. Husband number two was an abusive philanderer. Number three was considerate but lost job after job because of alcoholism. Only after Lance Armstrong achieved fame and wealth as a world-class athlete did Kelly find the quality husband she had been seeking for decades. Working with professional writer and cancer survivor Rodgers (Bald in the Land of Big Hair, 2001), Kelly touches hearts and minds in chapter after chapter. This is especially true when she recounts how she helped Lance beat life-threatening testicular cancer diagnosed when he was 25. Then she cheered him through his recovery until he won the Tour de France for a record sixth time. Some of the story has been told by Armstrong in It’s Not About the Bike. But most of the material is fresh. Toward book’s end, the saga moves to a new generation, now that Kelly is grandmother to Lance’s children.
Occasionally clichéd, occasionally maudlin, but, overall, candid, thoughtful, and compelling.