Who’s he kidding? It’s about the bike.
My opinion on cancer now that I have read this book is that if I get cancer I need to be rich and I need to be famous so that I can get the best treatment available to me. If I am famous I will have fans who write me telling me that I need to seek out other opinions and which opinions those are. I will have fans that are willing to talk with me on the phone and willing to go over my blood count and really tell me what it all means. If I have money I will be able to fly all over the U.S. at the drop of a hat to get opinions from the best of the best and then make an educated decision based upon the many opinions I have been offered and able to choose a doctor who makes me the most comfortable and confident with the outcome of my grave situation. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Lance Armstrong has done many wonderful things for cancer research and cancer patients, I just don’t think it was his book.
Before reading this book my knowledge of in vitro fertilization (IVF) was limited. I appreciated the honesty with which Lance approached a subject that many people prefer not to discuss. After reading about the shots Lance’s ex-wife, Kik, had to administer to herself nightly and the surgery she had to undergo to remove the eggs from her womb for fertilization and then have the eggs re-implanted all the while doing much of this alone because her husband was on the road training, gave me a real respect for any woman that will go to this effort to have children, especially a wife that is later left by her husband so that he can ride on the back of a motorcycle with a rock star into the sunset.
But what the book is really about and what I learned the most about is cycling. I discovered it is not the solo sport I thought it was, but rather a complex, strategic team sport, a sport Lance admits he didn’t really fully grasp until after going through cancer, nearly dying and coming back with a new outlook on life, on cycling, on everything. I do believe that some of the most important lessons we can learn, the ones that make us over completely are taught through some of the most painful experiences, ones that we would never wish for, but once we’ve gone through would never take back. Cancer reconstructed Lances body, making him leaner, lighter, easier to carry up mountains on his bike. Cancer also reconstructed his mind. Lance had been humbled, he began to understand he can’t do it on his own, but that he needs to work as a team, he needs to rely on and help the ones he cycles with.
In the end I wouldn’t recommend this book because the only part I really enjoyed is the part about the bike and clearly this is not what Lance, or is it Sally Jenkins, wants us to get from the book and if they do, then the title doesn’t really fit, now does it? I believe that if you want to read a book from a cancer survivor’s perspective there is a better one out there, and if you want to read a book about the process of IVF there is also a better book out there, but if you want to read a book about racing bikes, not the “how to guide for dummies” but the book that tells you the story from a personal perspective then I think this is the one to read, the one written by the best cyclist, the book that isn’t about the bike.
I give the book a six out of ten, I am the guy sitting in the chair, not the one jumping up clapping. It’s just all right.