Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: Pedal (Louis K. Lowy)

by: Louis K. Lowy

Genre: Contemporary, Women's Fiction

Forty-nine and single. Fired from her lifelong passion: teaching music. Stripped of her self-worth. Can she reclaim her life through bicycle racing? Joanne Brick's thirty years as an elementary school music teacher evaporated into the rising sea of layoffs. A lifetime of dedication gone. At forty-nine, single with an ailing mom and bitter divorced sister, the future looked bleak. Family relationships soured as conversations moved to "the lettuce zone"-cold and crisp. Then one day, while cleaning out the garage for a yard sale, inspiration struck as she dusted off an old long-forgotten bicycle. And when she took her first ride she knew it was time to sink or pedal. "Onward! That was the answer that had eluded her earlier. There was dignity in that word. There was hope." Never a sports fanatic and sorely out of shape, Joanne was barely able to ride straight, but she took up bicycle racing because it added purpose to her life. "Joanne increased her own speed. The wind whipped her face. The whirring of the spinning spokes and chains rose in pitch as she spun faster. She was flying again, beyond failed careers, spurned lovers, regrets, and mistakes. She spun even quicker. Her breath came in swift, hard grunts." She pedaled past unemployment, failed relationships, family drama, and career loss. Her life began to fill with new friends, an inspirational Desert Storm vet turned cycling coach, and a sleek new physique from all the training. Then she ran into a brick wall in the form of Sheila Dominary, a women's bike racing adversary. Will Joanne regain her confidence as she pedals toward redemption, romance, adventure, and life beyond unemployment? Pedal is an inspirational journey. It is a contemporary story that deals not only with family relationships, but also with life's turning points and how ordinary people handle them.

I have so many things to say about this book! Pedal is such an inspirational and uplifting story. No one would have blamed Joanne for giving up, after losing her job.....the only thing she ever really the age of forty-nine, BUT SHE DIDN'T. The passion that she developed for bicycle racing was admirable. I instantly found myself rooting for her, smiling at her accomplishments, and shedding a few tears as she struggled.

I think that the one thing that stood out the most was how easy it was to relate to all of the characters. Whether you're a middle-aged and recently divorced individual, someone who had the rug ripped from beneath your feet (wondering what the hell you're supposed to do now), the has-been who got an unfair break, a widow/widower, or anything in between, I can promise that this book has some of the best written and relatable characters you'll come across.

You may be wondering if someone who knows little, or nothing, about bicycle racing could enjoy a book that's main focus is well.....bicycles and racing. The answer is a resounding YESSSSSSSSS!! I am not ashamed to admit that before picking up Pedal I knew virtually nothing about the world of bike racing and cycling coaches, but that didn't stop me from submerging myself into a new unknown. I quickly realized that Louis K. Lowy had my back and would provide me with just enough information to make me understand what the characters were experiencing, without providing so much background that I felt like I was drowning.

Thank you, Mr. Lowy, for showing me that passion, drive, and determination doesn't have to die with age, that we aren't defined by the titles we obtain, and that life is worth the fullest...regardless of our age. You successfully made me reevaluate my level of determination, and made me wish that I didn't leave my bicycle behind, in Italy.

As always, you can find all of the good stuff below.
Until next time.....

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