Report on The Page Turners Meeting - Meeting, Thursday, 1 June 2017

‘Gold’ by Chris Cleave

The members of the group gave this book an average score of 7.5 / 10.

We found this a powerful, poignant and quick read as the author explored the theme of competing on many levels. The central figures of the story are cyclists preparing for the 2012 Olympics who find themselves challenging each other in terms of their sport, relationships and dreams. There is a sense of drive and determination permeating the text as the reader is conscious of deadlines, schedules and expectations. As the sport they love becomes a metaphor for their personal lives, Zoe, Kate, Jack, and Tom are forced to face their greatest fears. They are loath to acknowledge their deepest secrets least it seems that they are giving up. We felt it posed the question,” What would you sacrifice for the people you love, if it meant giving up the thing that was most important to you in the world?”

We enjoyed reading about how the athletes condition their bodies and minds as they become speeding machines but were more fascinated by the coping strategies of Sophie and her Star Wars life.

Ultimately it is a story about making choices and how these impact upon others and the rest of our lives. Whatever decisions we make, wisely or other, have consequences and we need to move on from them. It was felt that the ending was a little contrived and somewhat ‘happy ever after’ – maybe this is why we decided it deserved a silver rather than gold medal. However, we all agreed that we would like to read more by this author.

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