Amidst real events and landscapes, men and women like us wander the cities we inhabit, rehearsing happier lives in the pages of this motivational novel. From each one, destiny took a part to make them perfect.
When he is born, André propels his mother’s life in a new direction, shifting her focus away from her professional aspirations. His father, an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and doesn’t know when to come back home, strives to make him a worldly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete.
I’ll admit it, the first thing that attracted me to this book, Riding by Cassia Cassitas, was its very creative cover. I love how the view on the cover is as if you are on a bicycle looking out. Great idea! As far as the actual book – once I read a couple chapters, I was hooked. When I first picked it up, I could barely get through the first page, but then I started to realize the style of writing and I started to get it. There’s also the fact that the book is translated from Portuguese to English, so I figure there’s always something lost in translation, right?
Riding’s story is told in short scenes through the point of view of the characters. Mario is an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and Elizabeth is his wife. Mario and Elizabeth have a son, André who was born without feet. When he is born, André sends his mother’s life in a new direction, shifting her focus away from her career and into motherhood. Because of the reactions of the parents and grandparents, the readers are made aware that something is a bit off with André, but it isn’t until the very end of the story that the reader gets the full picture.
Through cycling, André’s life shapes and he finds that becoming an Olympic para-athlete is his purpose in life. His desire to overcome his obstacles and become a true cyclist brings about a lot of growth in his life. The story spans from the 1980’s up through 2012 and it covers the Olympic games from Seoul to London to Beijing to Australia. It’s clear to readers that the author has done her homework regarding Olympic history too because the facts are definitely accurate. The author leads readers through the difficult task of Olympic preparation and both the good and bad parts of organizing these events are exposed.
Within this main story is a collection of shorter stories, all having to do with the Olympics. Each character in the story has something to overcome and face, and we get to see the struggles and success of each one. I liked how the stories were fairly short too, because it allowed me to finish one, put the book down, and then pick it up later. Before I knew it, I was done with the entire book! While the book is short, it is full of substance and heart.
This is a unique book – a different style than I usually read, but full of the love of sports as a means to challenge yourself. I found that the book contained gems of reflections on life and succeeding too. Despite basing itself on the journey of an athlete that seeks his objectives, “Riding” is not merely a story about cycling. It goes much further. The lessons taught of self-improvement, commitment and focus are a full plate to the people who search for inspiration in their lives. Cassitas has succeeded in bringing the world of para-athletes to my attention and I bet I will find myself paying a bit more attention to the Olympics when they take place in Rio in 2016!
About the author: Cassia Cassitas made her career in technology. She has remained in academics both as a teacher and a student, working on innovative projects including those that involve prospects. She specialized in philosophy and existence,information engineering, and college didactics. Currently she studies French, due to her husband’s influence, and English to enlarge her world. Mother to two adolescents who devour books, Cassia published her first work, Sunday, The Game, in 2010, a digital best seller in Brazil. Cassia Cassitas lives with her family in Curitiba, where her dreams prosper under the eyes of her readers.
I received this digital book without cost in conjunction with my relationship with Tomoson in exchange for my honest review and unbiased opinion.