Generally speaking, when I read an autobiography, I prefer that it is written exclusively by the biographer; in this case, Lance Armstrong. For It's Not About The Bike, Mr. Armstrong chose to write the book with the assistance of sports columnist and Washington Post feature writer Sally Jenkins; and this was a mistake in my view. The parts of the book written by Armstrong are by turns entertaining, poignant, cringe-inducing, and above all honest. However, every now and then there is a sentence or a paragraph appears that feels out of place, like it was written by someone else: Sally Jenkins.
Interestingly, though Mr. Armstrong employs the assistance of a co-writer, he does not acknowledge Sally Jenkins' contributions in the main body of his book. Instead, he lists Ms. Jenkins' name last among those for whom "this book is for", writing that he met with her to write this book. Why someone with Armstrong's blunt yet frank manner would choose to employ a co-writer is beyond me: In public as well as (based on the accounts described in this book) in private Armstrong is never at a loss for words, nor does he seem to have any difficulty in making himself understood. If he had decided to write this book entirely on his own (as I believe he easily could have), It's Not About The Bike would rate 4 stars out of 5 for me with one star deducted because of the very brief descriptions of his experience in the Tour De France, which I had hoped to read more of. As it stands, whether it was due to the influence of Sally Jenkins or of some un-named publicist or handler of Mr. Armstrong, It's Not About The Bike feels incomplete, and airbrushed in parts. The story of Lance Armstrong's life is fascinating and this book is well worth reading. In the interests of full disclosure and authenticity, I simply would have prefered Armstrong stuck to telling the story of his life entirely in his own words. 3/5