Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglas – Book Review

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During this book review, I’m going to try to stay as calm as possible. While reading this please remember that you don’t have to agree with me. This is my book review, based solely on my own feelings and opinions. Feel free to write your own book review if you have different thoughts.

What’s the story?

The book starts out with the story of how Gabby almost quit gymnastics. I was almost shocked when reading this part. There are a lot of direct quotes from a conversation between Gabby and her mother (who is very angry about her wanting to quit gymnastics). This whole part made me mad to be completely honest and I feel like there was a lot of information that should have been left out. Within the first few pages, I got the vibe that Gabby and her mom only do gymnastics for fame and money.

Gabby quoted a message she sent to her mom about wanting to quit gymnastics. She mentions that she would like to be famous for something else…like the track. She also said that she wants to be a normal teenager and live off the 14 grand she won at Worlds. I don’t understand why that piece of information was necessary. All that did was make it sound like she just wants to be famous and brag about the money she has.

I’ve never seen a gymnast, flat out mention how much money they have made from winning a meet. We all know they make a lot, but you don’t hear them saying actual amounts. Mainly due to the fact that very few people in this world make that kind of money, and you don’t want to come across as bragging or like they’re “throwing it in people’s faces”. Anyways, I understand that the Douglas family did a lot to get Gabby where she was, but Gabby made it VERY clear in that message to her mother that she wanted to quit gymnastics and her mom didn’t support her decision. That to me was disappointing.

If your child is coming to you and saying “I don’t want to do this anymore” the LEAST you could do as a mother is support her. Don’t they always say that it’s your child’s dream..not yours? Well, I get the vibe that Ms. Douglas is trying to live through Gabby. Her mom basically told her that if she wanted to quit she had to buy her own plane ticket back to Virginia and to find somewhere else to live because she wasn’t living with her anymore. She also said that Gabby didn’t love her. Nice. I bet all the Dougie fans out there are just DYING to know about all the personal fights you and your mom get into.

Sounds like a brilliant idea to publish it in your autobiography. I’ll start off by saying that this book was very poorly written and not what I expected it to be. The book was co-written by Michelle Burford who obviously doesn’t know very much about gymnastics. According to her, Shawn Johnson did a “full twisting back somersault and tuck back to the round-off with the full-twisting double back dismount.” in her beam routine.

She also thinks the US National Championships are the same thing as the JO National Championships. (There were several more occasions where she slaughtered skills and gymnastics facts too.) My main problem was that it was clearly not written by Gabby. Please tell me how she had the time to sit down and write a book after the Olympics between a million appearances and a tour…all in 3 months? I don’t think that’s possible.

I really wish she would have waited to do this book because I think it would have been better to hear her story after everything had settled in and life got back to normal. Most gymnasts wait YEARS to tell their Olympic story. Not a few weeks. She did this book right after the Olympics, therefore it’s not very up to date and just seemed very rushed.  I found a lot of typos in the book (including spelling her own teammate’s name Jordan Weiber) and I didn’t like how she was putting “lol” after a lot of her sentences or using “btw” for by the way.

This is a book, not a text message for your friends. There was a point in the book where she even called her mom “prego” instead of pregnant. I understand that she is only 16, but if you’re going to write a book it needs to be professional. No text lingo. Come on now.

Book’s Next Chapters

The next chapter is about the family’s financial problems. And then…everything suddenly made sense. NOW I understand why Gabby’s mom got so heated when Gabby wanted to quit. She had been living in a car for some odd amount of time and knew that Gabby was her shot at getting the big bucks. (Hah, I’m totally kidding…maybe.)

There was another part in the book where Gabby mentions her older sister Arielle doing gymnastics and how their mom knew that she could become an elite one day. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the money to follow through with it…..but for some reason, they did with Gabby. Cool. That part didn’t make sense to me.

As the book goes on, Gabby takes you through the days at her very first gym, the bullying incidents at Excalibur,  moving to train with Chow, and meeting Shawn Johnson. I’m not exactly sure who her coach at Excalibur was from 2008-2010 but Gabby makes him sound like a tool. The book has a lot of detail, which can be a good thing.

I’ll admit, I did get bored reading it at times though because it transitioned from one topic to the next very quickly. One second you are reading about her at the gym and the next she’s talking about cereal. But she has a good blend of family life and gymnastics.

There is a lot of behind the scenes type stuff that is fun to read, like that her brother told her she would get a puppy if she won nationals or trials! At the bottom of every chapter, Gabby writes a little paragraph about her father-sharing memories and how she remembers him.

Towards the end, she tells her Olympic story. It’s nothing that we don’t already know, other than the fact that Viktoria Komova won the silver in the all-around with only a 15.100. She only talks about the team and all-around finals in the book and then ends it with a quick preview of all the appearances she’s done.

Final Thoughts

Overall, if you are a gymnastics fan, you will probably like this book. However, if you are looking for a super good gymnastics read…I wouldn’t recommend it. ‘
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate it a 6. If I remember correctly, Gabby mentioned a second book at some point in her life. If that’s true, I hope she writes it alone and takes the time to proofread and spell check before publishing it. Click here to check the price on Amazon.