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A Skating Life: My Story

A Skating Life: My Story

4.5 14
by Dorothy Hamill, Deborah Amelon

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The dazzling smile, the signature haircut, the staple spin. "America's Sweetheart" Dorothy Hamill grew up on the ice, working toward the dream she was to accomplish by age nineteen: winning Olympic gold in figure skating. But life was not the picture of perfection it appeared to be. Dorothy faced a painful inner struggle from the time she was a young girl that


The dazzling smile, the signature haircut, the staple spin. "America's Sweetheart" Dorothy Hamill grew up on the ice, working toward the dream she was to accomplish by age nineteen: winning Olympic gold in figure skating. But life was not the picture of perfection it appeared to be. Dorothy faced a painful inner struggle from the time she was a young girl that followed her into adulthood—though she would not know about the depression that ran in her family until much later in life. Weeks and months away from home to train and compete took a difficult toll, yet little reprieve could be found in the tumultuous and fragile relationship she had with her parents.

Dorothy went on to marry the man of her dreams, only to have the partnership end in heartache and a tragedy that almost pushed her to her breaking point. Then, just when a light at the end of the tunnel finally began to appear, a second failed marriage tried and tested Dorothy's trust and strength yet again—a travesty that could have led her to give up. But, she found a remarkable strength in what she did have—her greatest love, her daughter Alexandra.

"Thank goodness, I had my skating. There was certainly a pattern to my life. When times were tough, I went skating. It was only while I was out on the ice, enjoying the freedom of movement and my love of music, that I was able to escape from my bottomless heartache."

In her deeply moving and honest memoir, Dorothy opens up for the first time about love, family, courage, and what it means to truly win both on and off the ice.

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.12(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Shortly after she was born in Chicago, Dorothy Hamill's family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut—though once she began skating, she was constantly on the road training and competing. She was a three-time United States National Champion (1974-76) and won the World Championship and Olympic Gold Medal in 1976. She was an inductee of both the U.S. and World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and a headliner for the Ice Capades for seven years before briefly owning it. She can be seen today as a judge on Skating with Celebrities as well as skating performing in skating exhibitions. Dorothy lives with her daughter Alexandra in Connecticut—and when asked when she plans on stopping skating, she contentedly declares: "never."

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A Skating Life: My Story 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good look at Dorothy Hamill and her strained relationship with her mom growing up. The book covers the hard work Hamill put in over the years and how it became more of a job than fun. She's had a few failed marriages and that's covered, as well. A complete look at her career on and off the ice. Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very much enjoyed this book. Dorothy is a beautiful person and her lifer shows this. Had a hard time putting the book down. Great reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dorothy Hamill's novel "A Skating Life" is a quick and easy read that opens the reader's eyes to the real world of competitive skating. The book covers the life of 1976 Olympic Figure Skating Champion, Dorothy Hamill and describes both the physical and mental strain that pushed her to the olympic podeum. Througout the novel, a theme of famly sacrifice is continuously brouhgt up. Dorothy writes of how much her family, especially her mother sacrificed to get her to reach her full potential. Never have I heard of such a family being so selfless and putting their own wants and needs aside for someone else. The family's unconditinal love that is expressed throughout the book is truly overwhelming. One of the best things about the book is Hamill's writing style. Hamill writes in a very personal and relatable way making it easy to image yourself within the text. Even though her unique voice is easily heard through the text, at times the mood of the book gets to be slightly depressing. She describes her inner struggle with depression in the novel and it was quite easy as a reader, to be overwhelmed by the text's negative and saddening energy. Overall, Hamill does a great job balancing the emotions throughout the book. Hamill's novel sends a loud and clear message to all readers saying how if you truly want something in life and believe you have what it takes to accomplish it, go for it! This book was short yet suprisingly inspiring and is perfect for anyone looking to jump into the world of competative ice skating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that I would highly recommend. As a retired school librarian and lover of biographies, I always searched for a biography that would engage 7th and 8th graders as well as adults. This would be it. Having watched Dorothy Hamill's performances on TV anytime I could, I was amazed as how effortlessly she made her skating look and how she always seemed cheerful and happy. From watching her performances, I would never have guessed as some of her struggles growing up. I loved the directness and honesty without any blaming.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading how this beautiful lady overcame so many obstacles, remained so graceful in her entire life, the juicy details of her affairs makes for a fascinating read. Winning the Olympic Gold and not having her own mother there - is a mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end. Beautiful pictures too that make the book a real keepsake. (I read an adavnaced copy and am so glad I did.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Easy, quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
As is evident from this book, Dorothy Hamill's gift is skating, not writing! However, she was still able to tell the story about her life as a skater sharing her many strengths along with her weaknesses. This made her like the rest of us - human and relatable! Life is difficult for all of us, even gold medal champions. She has had many challenges to face in life and has done so graciously. I commend her for her efforts and will always remain a fan, wishing her the best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this a good book?
Guest More than 1 year ago
No one likes a tease. You can't tell me that you have been married twice, have gone bankrupt and have had a daughter and just walk away! I haven't heard from you in 24 years. This is all you have to tell me? It isn't often that you really long to read a book and reach its end. I was hoping that Dorothy Hamill's new autobiography, A Skating Life: My Story, would be that sort of book. She's the famous friend we all long to have. Sadly, everything you've been longing to know won't be found here. A Skating Life will only be palatable to Dorothy's most avid fans and admirers. During the 1970s, Dorothy was a charismatic figure skater who brought inspiration and delight to all. Her gifted athleticism, combined with delightful style and grace, created a persona that was larger than life. Sighs of amazement would always be heard as she danced on the ice around the world. Dorothy was a living storybook character that we longed to watch. When her life and career began to cool, Dorothy wrote her first biography, On and Off the Ice 'Knopf - 1983.' She captured all the excitement and thrill of being an Olympic champion and the adventure of her worldwide travels. I remember this book fondly. When I heard she had written a new book, I couldn't wait to receive it. Sadly, my anticipation would not bear fruit. This is a chilly and lifeless book. It's not a reflection of someone known for their exuberance and charm. You haven't really become this person, have you Dorothy? Just presenting the facts creates a lousy read. Dorothy's book certainly brings you up to date with what has occurred in her adult life, but we are left shallow and empty. Her first husband committed adultery and then smashed his fighter jet into a mountain. Dorothy still loves him. Tell me why! Her second husband conned her out of her fortune and also cheated on her. How did you handle it? Her daughter has become her savior and her raison d'etre. What is she like? Tell us about the moments you cherish! Tell us all about your joy! Reading is an essential skill. You read for basic utility. You read to learn. You read for enjoyment. As a writer, you must always remember this: You may not be standing in a spotlight, with a live audience in front of you, but you are an entertainer. When you decide to write, it is your job to discover 'the good stuff' and bring it forth in the proper context and form to entice your readers to read more! You have to capture the emotions, the aspirations, the pain and the joy. A Skating Life doesn't. Is the title a dark and self-depreciating double entendre? One thing is particularly puzzling. Dorothy points out her mother's terse disposition, depression, and alcoholism over and over again. Countless times she refers to her mother's habits of 'self-medication.' Her mother's struggles in life were portrayed so coldly it became like a bitter pill whenever they were mentioned. Without elaboration, these comments became burdensome with an immature tone. The end of the book reveals an illogical twist. Dorothy turns 180 degrees and writes a long passage about how she admires her Mom and thanks her for her dedication. Was this a remarkable revelation in later life or just poor editing? I hope Dorothy doesn't wait another quarter of a century before writing another book. Although her current biography doesn't capture it, I think she has a lot to say and a lot to share. I'd like to suggest concentrating on the joys of her current life: skating, her daughter and cooking. I'm sure there is a lot of 'good stuff' we would like to hear all about. C'mon! Tell us a good story, Dorothy! I know you can do much better than this. Capture your smiles and enthusiasm on paper. Again, you will be a winner!