Subtitled: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike’s Elite Running Team
From the subtitle of this book, I expected it to be part memoir, part exposé about the Nike Oregon Project. While it is that, the balance between these two parts is uneven, with memoir being about 80%. Goucher was mostly kept isolated from the other athletes at the NIP, so she was a bit oblivious to what was happening for a good number of years. There was also a culture of don’t-ask-questions, do-what-you’re-told, and she obeyed that. Terrible things were done to the athletes, including Goucher, sometimes with the athletes’ willingness and sometimes not. But this book was mostly about how Goucher dealt with her own part of things, how she existed within the culture, rather than about the culture itself. After having read and loved Lauren Fleshman’s book that was part memoir, part exposé on running culture around women, this follow-up was disappointing. I’m not saying it was badly done or anything – I’m just not a memoir person generally so this wasn’t the book for me.
Performance: This book was read by the author (while the introduction was read by Mary Pilon, the co-author). In general, books read by the author tend to be poorly performed unless the author has some experience in acting/performance. In this instance, Goucher read the book much as you would typically hear from a student reading a passage aloud for a classroom. Every sentence ended with the same cadence, and there were weird halting moments between words mid-sentence, in places where no pauses should have been. As a read-aloud, it was fine, but it was not an audio performance. I honestly recommend reading the print version if you’re interested in this one.