Simone Biles is the best. She’s smart and talented and spunky and let’s face it, adorable. She may not be the world’s best writer, but she is a child and therefore the slightly childish tone of this memoir can be excused. It’s hard not to smile along with her joy.
“I wanted every child, regardless of race, to be able to look at my Worlds win and say, I can dream big too. I wanted them to know that following your dreams—not just in gymnastics, but in everything—shouldn’t have anything to do with the color of your skin. It should only be about finding the discipline and the courage to do the hard work.”
Simone’s life started out pretty rocky — when she was very young, her parents’ drug and alcohol addictions meant Simone and her siblings were in and out of foster care for several years. When she was 3, she moved to the Houston area to live with her maternal grandfather and his second wife. The couple cared for Simone and her siblings, and eventually adopted Simone and her youngest sister while another family member took her other two siblings.
The stability provided by her grandparents allowed Simone to thrive, and once she tried gymnastics at age 6, it became clear that she had a talent for it. She began working with a coach, and competed in her first American classic at age 14. She goes into the details of each competition, the moves she trained on and the pressure she felt. It gets a little repetitive but you can see her growth from event to event, eventually leading to the 2016 Olympic Games. Through it all, she places a high priority on her family and her faith, and it’s obvious how much her teammates mean to her as well.
I feel like this book was written for a slightly younger audience than myself — I can see it being very meaningful and inspiring to middle school aged girls, that sort of demographic. That being said, I found myself very impressed with her story and can’t wait to see what she does next.