The Unconventional Raising of a Champion
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A decorated Olympian reflects on her supportive upbringing and celebrated competitive swimming career.

Five-time gold medalist Franklin’s affinity for water began when she was a child vacationing with her family at oceanside locations and, later, in grade school, where she discovered and began honing the ability to “swim fast on my back.” With obvious pride, she describes a succession of swim meets, influential coaches, competitions, and national championships, near and far, which her parents, who co-authored the book, were more than happy to shuttle her to. At some point, writes the author, “a switch got flipped, and swimming became something else—something more.” With her parents’ blessings and ceaseless encouragement, Franklin began training with top-level professional coaches. In perhaps her greatest achievement to date, Franklin, then just 17, won five Olympic medals (four golds, one bronze) at the 2012 London Olympics. A blitz of media attention descended on the family, but Franklin became buoyed by an insistence on finishing her secondary education with her friends and graduating class at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado, where her spirituality bloomed as well. Throughout the book, Franklin effusively credits her parents as being “at the heart of everything I do, everything I am, everything I might become.” The co-authors add depth, personal history (both were victims of childhood abuse), and alternating perspectives on raising their daughter and cultivating her talent. They also offer a clear glimpse into how they raised and molded Missy to become a humble champion who continues to persevere—despite self-critically disappointing performances at the recent 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. But this is very much the swimmer’s memoir. In a breezy style, she focuses on charting her own physical prowess and competitive skills while honoring and staying true to the interconnectedness and gravity of the family bond.

A consistently sunny, family-oriented story of persistence and achievement.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-101-98492-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2016


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