In this no-holds-barred memoir, Bertine tells how she set her heart on making it to the top in the skating world, was accepted into the Ice Capades in the late 1990s and lost her dream when the company folded just as she was about to join. Determined to be a professional skater at any cost, she joined lesser ice shows, first Holiday on Ice, where she performed in Europe dressed in animal costumes, and then Hollywood on Ice, where she traveled to remote South American villages in a circus-style caravan, sleeping in shabby hotels and changing costumes in a crowded, smelly trailer. Even more demoralizing, the skaters in this show were subjected to Sunday weigh-ins, for skinniness was the goal, and she was deemed overweight because of the muscular body she had worked hard to develop. Obsessed with becoming thin, she starved herself until she became physically and mentally ill. Finally, after realizing that she had a serious problem, she made elaborate plans to escape, until the show downsized, releasing her. She returned home, regained her health, became a triathlete and now pursues that sport as ardently as skating. Bertine recounts all this in straightforward and often amusing prose, condemning people and venues that have disappointed her: her mother, who apparently wanted a glamour girl, not an athlete, for a daughter; her wealthy hometown of Bronxville, N.Y.; and the ice shows. She also presents a harrowing description of the levels of degradation to which she sank because of the eating disorder. Her book should serve as a cautionary tale for ambitious young people who hope to make it to the top in the sports world. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In this autobiography, professional figure skater Bertine offers both interesting highlights and boring personal trivia. Vivid descriptions of how she became a competitive skater and then a cast member of several shows make for engaging reading-there's plenty of juicy tidbits on contracts, living conditions, personal relationships among the skaters, grind of endless performances, costuming, makeup, and rehearsals. There are also some amusing anecdotes about the mix of nationalities within the sport. But the mundane parade of personal detail, particularly about sporting activities and experiences other than skating, leaves the reader more bored than inspired. Sometimes the book reads like an adolescent's diary, sprinkled as it is with sophomoric comments, e.g., "Elementary school was a blur of self-discovery." Readers must plow through too much of this to get to the more interesting skating topics. A mixed bag, then; recommended for collections related to sport or other specialized collections.-Bonnie Collier, Yale Law Lib., New Haven Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.