Sunday, August 30, 2020

Fast Girls


Author: Elise Hooper 

Publisher: William Morrow Books

Year:  2020


Fast Girls is a fictional account of three real life US Olympians competing in the 1936 Berlin Games. But it is not Jesse Owens’ story. Instead it is the story of Betty Robinson, Louise Stokes, and Helen Stephens. 

Betty Robinson was a member of the first US women’s track and field team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. She stunned the games by winning the gold medal in the 100 meter dash. She missed the 1932 games because she was recovering from a horrific plane crash. She was determined to make the team for the 1936 games. 

Louise Stokes was a Black teen from New England when she qualified for the 1932 Los Angles Olympics. Unfortunately she never got the compete because of racism. She qualified for the 1936 team and once again wasn’t given the opportunity to compete. 

Helen Stephens grew up dirt poor on a hard scrabble farm in Missouri. She was a tall, awkward girl and was always an outcast - until a coach recognized her athletic potential and started her on the path to the Berlin games. She won two gold medals. 

Author Elise Hooper does a remarkable job weaving their stories together. These ladies had to face sexism, racism, poverty and physical injuries to achieve their dreams. I rarely read historical fiction but I’m happy I picked this up. Great for readers who enjoy historical fiction, sports or who are just looking for something inspirational. 

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