Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

4.2 8
by Joan Ryan
     
 

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A sports reporter investigates the training of girls as professional gymnasts and figure skaters, arguing that the pressure to succeed and to look beautiful results in mental and physical harm, from eating disorders to psychological trauma.

Overview

A sports reporter investigates the training of girls as professional gymnasts and figure skaters, arguing that the pressure to succeed and to look beautiful results in mental and physical harm, from eating disorders to psychological trauma.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307828552
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/03/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
114,519
File size:
6 MB

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Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of contrasting opinions on this book. I spent about 18 years as a gymnast and I would not change it for the world, even despite some aches and pains now and then in my mid twenties. While this book did reveal a large portion of truth about elite/Olympic level gymnastics, it did slight a large part of gymnastics. Girls that participate in this sport 'no matter what their highest achieved level is' learn so much more than high flying acrobatics that stun any audience. These children's minds become more focused and advanced than some adults I know. These gilrs learn how to set goals, the value of a good work ethic, problem solving, dedication and many more skills that will follow them long after they leave the gym. One cannot deny that some of the horror stories presented do, in fact, occur. These horrific incidences are brought on by numerous factors. Something this book did not mention was the pure adrenaline rush a gymnast gets just from the love of the sport! I can personally say that my life was changed for the better by my continued dedication and passion for the sport. Be aware of the downsides and bad things that can happen,as with anything in life but also be aware of the positive influence this sport has on the life of a developing mind and spirit. Take what you want from this book. Perhaps it did present only the negatives and make it seem like a 'one size fits all' type of guide. But this is simply one view point. As a gymnast, I was still able to find this a fascninating read while not losing an ounce of passion for the sport!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book ---- want it for my own collection to read over and over again. I have checked out several times from the library but always come back to read it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
As a country, when we think gymnastics we think talented young women, with the perfect bodies, performing tricks that make our jaw drop. However, there is so much more to gymnastics then we are exposed to. Joan Ryan gives us an insight to the real world of elite training. It is revealed that the girls are subjected to long hours of training and eating disorders which causes their menstruation cycle to stop, resulting in their bones becoming brittle, stunting their growth, and causing organ failure and mal-nutrition. The girls also put up with torture from their coaches 'who only get recognized if they produce Olympic champions so will go to extreme lengths to produce them', being called fat, idiots, and worthless, sometimes leaving them with their confidence shot, eating disorders, and feeling suicidal. Coaches push their girls to practice and compete on fractured bones and torn ligaments because time away from the gym could result in their not making the Olympic Team because Elite gymnastics is strictly a race against the clock. Some gymnasts also go through abuse at home from parents who want them to bring home that gold metal so bad that they verbally and physically abuse them to scare them into being the best they can be. However, this usually results in parents getting divorced and girls no longer talking to their parents. I would recommend this book to people who take an interest in gymnastics, however they need to understand that this is not how gymnastics is as a whole. In fact, I am an optional gymnast and rarely have I seen fellow gymnasts with an eating disorder or coaches being as harsh on their gymnasts as they are in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was well written, but a bit off the mark. Sure, some bad stuff happens, but it was written like it was a given that was what you would experience. I am a former elite gymnast and I've trained with some of those girls and it was nowhere near the extremes depicted. The diets we were on were not that harsh, either. It consisted of eating healthy, well-balanced meals no junk foods or huge portions. Sure there were some that would be on some bizarre starvation diets, but they were self imposed and had nothing to do with the coaches. In fact, I specifically recall my coach telling one girl that if she didn't start eating more he wasn't going to let her train because she would hurt herself. Take this book with a grain of salt, because it went to the far extremes of what typically happens.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great but it is bogus... i trained with Geza Poszar and Emille Eberle(Trudi) and they never pushed us to loose weight or made us work soo hard they pushed us to our limits no doubt but that is what every sport should be like... Gymnastics is only picked on because people realize that it is the worlds hardest sport. That reason is sad but gymnastics was the most fun thing i have done and i never regret doing that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a gymnast for 12 years, and while this book does highlight some terrible things that go on in sports, they are not what normally happens. many gymnasts are on diets that consist of not eating junk food, but very rarely do any of them develop eating disorders. Great book to open the eyes of its readers, but just know that this is just an example of a small percentage of gymnasts and not a stereotype.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whereas I haven't trained with every elite coach in the world, I do know that those of us at my gym are never pushed to lose weight or compete if we are seriously injured. I know girls who are on diets but their diets only consist of not eating junk food all the time. Nothing dangerous. And if we are injured and do not WANT to compete we are never forced to. I do, however, believe that what Joan Ryan wrote about is true, but I also believe it happened more then and it happens less now. It was a well-written, informative book, but I wish she had also told the other side of gymnastics ... it is a beautiful sport and she made it look awful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a gymnast competing on level 10, and while I do not go through these things, I could relate to the book very well. Ryan's book goes behind the scenes to show you what is behind those smiling faces and bouncy ponytails. She explores the dangers of eating disorders, injuries, pressure, coaches, parents, etc., and shows how these can seriously affect gymnasts and figure skaters for life. Included are many heart-breaking true stories, and twenty-four pages of photos. I would recommend this book to any gymnast, figure skater, parent, or coach- it's a really eye-opening experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ryan's take on what it takes to be a world and Olympic-level gymnast is painfully true. I competed state-level gymnastics for 8 years, and eventually was forced to quit because of complications involving eating and weight loss. As much as I loved the sport of gymnastics, and still do, it really ruined my life. Ryan's research provides an in-depth perspective to what us girls go through in our quest to be the best, no matter what level we're competing. My only hope is that more girls and their parents find this book and wise up to the dangers we flirt with.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would not call myself an avid reader, yet this book had me hooked. I loved everything about it. The heart wrenching stories about the lives of these young athletes. It is a hard one to put down. I recommend this book to athletes and their parents. It does not only my the reader question the lives of the athletes but the workings of their parents and coaches.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my good friends is an elite gymnast, and has suffered so much to get where she is today. She looks like pure muscle wrapped in Saran wrap. I remember when she had to have both of her ankles broken and reset so she could continue to compete to get a full scholarship to college, which she did. Although she takes an average of 12 extra strength Advil pills everyday, she's still doing it. She's worked under Bela Karolyi's summer camp for three years and everything she has told me matches the gruesome stories in the book. I was fascinated by what these poor girls had to sacrifice and do to try to reach a dream that probably wouldn't come true. It was an amazing thing to me and really opened my eyes to the real world of gymnastics and figure-skating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I retired from being and elite gymnast when I was 15. Now I am 16. The olympics were just out of my reach before I quit. I know what these girls have gone through. I am 5' and 90lbs. When I quit I was 4'9 and 72 lbs. Gymnasts who do not compete elite should not be making any bad comments on this book because they have never been through what us elite gymnasts have. -Celia
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book tells it like it is. I, being naturally very, very small, was never told I needed to loose weight but I have seen it happen. The people who write reviews giving this book 1 star and saying "i am a gymnast and this is NOT true" .. are any of you in the elite level? No... i read that one was in level 9, and the other didn't say ... but this is what ELITE and Olympic level gymnasts go through to be "the best".
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't read all this book at once. It was so many lies, and exaggerations that I couldn't believe it. Somebody came into the gymnastics community, took a look, made an opinon, then wrote a book that left us stunned. Yes, gymnastics is hard but to most its more than worth it, and all these great coaches should not be called monsters!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best I have read...I competed as a figure skater for 10 years, and this book tells the sorry truth of what athletes go through to maintain the "perfect" image that everyone so desperately holds them too. This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to know why eating disorders are now an epidemic in this country.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gives you a whole different insite of gymnastics and figure-skating. It keeps your attention the whole way through, and leaves you wondering after you finish. Absolutely something to think about!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not a good book. Before I started gymnastics, I read it, and it freaked me out. I mean, all the author talks about is what's so bad about gymnastics and figure skating, and she makes it sound like these sports are both horrible! I almost changed my mind about taking gymnastics becase i read this book. The only thing I liked about it was learning about different gymnastics and figure skating stars. I can't even believe the book was published.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Little Girls in Pretty Boxes is such an awesome book about girls struggling through the hardships of their favorite sports. It showed me that gymnastics is not just fun, but its work and toughness. AWESOME book! I loved it and reccomend it to anyone! Thanks for listening! Take your time if you read it and read it carefully! Pay attention to vocabulary!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book that I have ever read! EVERYONE who is in the sport or even out should read this. I'm a gymnast, but things like this havn't happened to me, but I've seen a lot of it happen to other people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I feel that this is a great book for all ages. If a parent wants to know if they should send their child away maybe they should read this book and do a lot of thinking before hand. They explain how it is to live your life and how much pain they go through. The athletes say they love it so its worth it... but I will let you be the judge of that...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I may have never competed in either gymnastics or figure skating, but once I picked up this book I couldn't put it down. As an activist aganist typical stereotypes put on women and young girls, this book helped me open my eyes to world of sports and the pressure these girls and women suffer. Anyone with a little girl needs to read this thought-provking book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a gymnast but none of my coaches have ever told me to lose weight. Joan Ryan is getting her information from elite coaches and gymnasts. I do think that a lot of these girls problems like bulima wouldn't have happened if they weren't gymnasts. I also believe gymnastics helped take the lives of Julissa Gomez and Christy Henrich. It was a great book and the facts are true.