Book review: Riding by Cassia Cassitas

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Book Description:  Amidst real events and landscapes, men and women like us wander the cities we inhabit, rehearsing happier lives in the pages of this motivational narrative. From each one, destiny took a part to make them perfect.When he is born, Andre propels his mother’s life in a new direction. 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 wordly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete.Together with his friends, he experiences disappointments and new beginnings. A doctor that builds robots, the daughter of a lonely teenager, and a retired athlete teach André how to overcome his limits and live his dream.Set in Curitiba with breaks in Los Angeles, Seoul, Johannesburg and Soweto, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, the narrative ends in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro.As a tribute to all those who choose to sign the next episodes of their lives, this book is about overcoming one’s self amid achievements, obstacles, love and heroism, written behind the scenes of life.Buy the book:    Amazon   ~   Barnes & Nobles   ~    Book Depository

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Meet the author:  “In my mind, words came in strides. They aligned themselves in arguments that were ready for combat after rebelling themselves – and that was just inkling. Were was my certainty to support the new image? And where were my emotions, with their brushes to bring color to life?”  Born in the interior of the state of Paraná, Cassia Cassitas accumulated various degrees throughout her carreer in Information Technology. The author of three novels, her texts convey ideas accumulated amidst the smell of coffee plantations, shoe factories, and the technology of the 20th century. These texts deal with life-altering episodes, in a path lit by a harmonious blend of memories and imagination.
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Connect with the author:     Website    Facebook    Twitter
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REVIEW:
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Riding is a narrative about a little boy who grows up to pursue his passion for cycling. What we don’t know until about 3/4 through the book is that Andre has no feet and his good friend, Dr. Eureka has fitted him with prosthetics (I think). This story is about Andre’s training and desire to compete in the Paralympics.

The book begins with a description of Mario’s (Andre’s father) work and his involvement with Olympic installations at the different Olympic locations around the globe. Mario travels extensively and Andre and his mother settle in Curitiba, Brazil. Their respective careers seem to take precedence over their family life and it was really hard to develop an affinity for the three as a family unit. Elizabeth spends a lot of time at home and develops a love of reading philosophy, which she shares with Andre.

I found the first part of the book that dealt with the Olympic installations to be very interesting, as I worked with the Olympics in the past. The “family” part of the story seems to be an add-on to the “serious” stuff of the Olympics. I felt that two separate books would have been better. The translation was a little stiff and dry and Andre’s thoughts and feelings as a child sounded too much like that of an adult. I can imagine that the original language version of this story would have been far more meaningful.

I really struggled to get through this book because it lacked coherence. It would bounce back and forth between themes and I was often lost. Until I discovered that Andre had prosthetics, I couldn’t understand why his mother was so overprotective of him.

I admire a young person’s drive and determination to prove that, despite his limitations, he can do whatever he puts his mind to. I am sure Andre is an inspiration for other paralympians.imgres

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