The Boxer's Heart: A Woman Fighting Paperback – May 29 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
"The sweet science of bruising" is how travel editor Sekules describes the art of boxing. In her memoir she documents the sport in unflinching detailAfrom a round-by-round recap of her first professional match to the often maternal relationship between a boxer and her trainer. The major underlying theme of the book isAnot surprisinglyAgender issues. While women have been boxing since the 18th century, Sekules discovers there is no model of behavior for women in the male-dominated world of modern boxing, and to her disappointment, she finds that the women who are involved are not interested in any kind of female camaraderie. As expected, her participation in the sport causes waves with the men surrounding her. Her boyfriend displays a new penchant for masochism in bed, which she quickly tires of, and a male boxer tells her over e-mail that he pays women to beat him up in the ring. Her trainer develops a crush on her and pouts at inopportune times when he is rebuffed. And a sports journalist calls her hours before a professional match and reveals that he is "titillated" by "catfights." From boxers, she writes, "I was learning to transfer weight from weight to fist and also from problem to tool." If by book's end, the problems are not solved (or even solvable), it is apparent that Sekules has all the tools she needs and more. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Sekules, the travel editor at Food and Wine , took a boxercise aerobics class in Brooklyn in the mid-nineties and, before long, was a regular at Gleason's, America's oldest continuously operating fight gym, where she trained alongside the famous, the infamous, the hopeless, and the helpless. Initially, boxing was a way for Sekules to explore the glorious grit of the gym and to show off to her literary friends ("I hang out with real boxers"). But soon the sport had her hooked. She relished the determination, skill, stamina, and artistry the ring demands of its successful inhabitants. In addition to chronicling her own odyssey, this memoir supplies keen reflections on the rise of women's boxing and the struggle to keep it from becoming a freak show on pay-per-view undercards. Boxing has its seamy side, too, and despite her infatuation, Sekules had no trouble spotting the con artists and self-serving promoters looking to flimflam a naive young fighter. This is an immensely entertaining, intelligent book that will appeal to boxing fans as well as athletes considering entering a new arena. It will also appeal to the same readers drawn to Dowling's Frailty Myth (see review on p.49). Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
For me, this book immediately worked on the most important level - as a vivid, inside account of what it is like to become a boxer, to train at a famous fight gymnasium, and ultimately to enter the ring as a professional. The book is also a lot more: an intelligent meditation on the history and technique of the "sweet science," a reflection on feminism, gender politics, and the vicissitudes of body image, and a narrative arc describing one woman's journey in synthesizing meaning from her personal experience. The juxtaposition of these elements is an ambitious undertaking, and the success of the author in so doing derives as much from her gifted prose style as from her observations and insights regarding the world of pugilism.
Anyone interested in boxing, sports, and/or feminism will find this book compelling, as will anyone who enjoys a good story. I am looking forward to reading Sekules's next book - on whatever topic about which she next decides to write.
Also, the author's narrative voice is unlike any I've ever come across: strong, clear, very idiosyncratic, and, in the end, totally winning. It reminded me of the first time I read "Catcher in the Rye"--it's that personal and quirky and astute. I hope there are many more Sekules books in the pipeline. This is clearly a major new author.
Most recent customer reviews
I read this book with interest...Her book certainly explores the way in which women may find an outlet for their physical and emotional problems through the activity of boxing,... Read morePublished on April 24 2001 by Alvin H. Felman, M.D.
I loved this book! I loved it so much I'm not sure where to begin this review! It is certainly well written, entertaining and witty. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2000 by G. Kellner