Saturday, October 8, 2016

Review of "See Jane Climb"

As one who is always looking for books on different sports, I had to say that competitive stair climbing was one sport I had NEVER heard about when the author sent me a message asking if I was interested in reviewing it.  Of course I said yes, and I am glad that I did.  Here is my review of "See Jane Climb."

“See Jane Climb: How Competitive Stair Climbing Changed My Life” by Jane Trahanovsky

Memoir, stair climbing, motivation

May 16, 2016

202 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

While the sport of competitive stair climbing may be obscure and not very well known – after all, when was the last time you saw a stair climbing race covered on ESPN? – it has all the benefits and aspects of sports like running and race walking. 

In this easy reading memoir, one of the best women in the sport, Jane Trahanovsky, tells of her story of how the sport got her into shape and made her happier.  She had entered her first stair climbing race after her brother Mark told her about his climb up the Willis Tower in Chicago. At the time, Jane was overweight and not in good physical shape.  Nonetheless, she decided to try it and as the title says, it changed her life.

The book reads like a typical memoir in which the author has one of those life-changing events. In her case, Jane overcame troubles in her life by concentrating on not only the stair climbing for exercise and competition, but also by a complete lifestyle change into healthier eating and living.  Again, these are common themes for memoirs and Jane writes about them in an easy to understand manner.

However, what makes this book different than most sports memoirs is the sport itself and Jane’s writing about her races. Stair climbers have excellent camaraderie with each other and will boost each other’s spirits during competition.  I especially enjoyed reading about the nuances of the climbs, such as using the rails to one’s advantage.  If the stairwell is narrow enough and the climber can place both hands on handrails to lift himself or herself up, that is called “double railing.”  Little pieces like that are sprinkled throughout the book and made it a fun read for a reader like me who had never heard of the sport prior to reading this book.

Jane also gives a shout out to many of her fellow climbers as the last 38 chapters are interviews and snippets into the lives of other climbers. Their stories are varied and just as interesting for a reader who wants to learn more about this sport. I certainly did learn about it and also took away inspiration to try to live a little healthier.  This is a book that is recommended for anyone looking for an inspirational story as Jane’s story certainly is one.

I wish to thank Ms. Trahanovsky for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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