Gold follows the friendship of two women, Zoe and Kate; both nineteen when they meet, both hoping to be coached by the same man, both curious about a specific boy and both with dreams of competing for gold in the Olympics. The story follows the women in the present day, at age thirty-two, remembering their journey together. While Kate is the mother of very sick child, and Zoe struggles to make a life out of her loneliness, Jack, Kate’s husband and Tom, the girl’s coach are powerful supporting characters. And Sophie, Kate and Jack’s ill daughter, will make your heart melt.
Cleave’s writing is tremendously engaging. It is near impossible to find a decent place to put your bookmark for the evening. I read this book during every moment I spent on public transportation (and that’s quite a bit!) and until my eyes could no longer stay open at night. The story itself is simple: two women competing for a place in the London 2012 Olympics. However, it is the complexity with which each character is built that is so captivating. Cleave is an expert in the human condition and Kate and Zoe felt so real to me, I almost felt like I would see them on the streets somewhere, dodging traffic on their bikes.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Chris Cleave last Thursday at a Random House event. Surrounded by three fellow authors, Chris was beaming the entire night. When his publicist arrived to take him out for dinner, he insisted on getting through the line of people waiting for an autographed book. He wanted to know who you were and wanted to thank every single person for being there. He told stories of his research for the book, both tear-jerking and hilarious. When he was doing research on Sophie’s illness, he visited the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London and visited many young children suffering with various illnesses. He also trained with his friend, who happens to be an Olympian cyclist. In short, Chris Cleave did it all and in the end, delivered a book that will make you laugh, cry, and ultimately thank your lucky stars for all the wonders that exist in your everyday life.
Also, Chris tweets @chriscleave and replies to as many tweets as he can! He told me that he is so happy to converse with his readers, so please, read this wonderful book and then tweet this talented man your thoughts!