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4.6 out of 5 stars113
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 January 2013
I am a big fan of Jessica Ennis and I am so hopeful she will continue to rack up the titles and UK records (and maybe world records) but I think this account just does'nt do her justice. On the one hand there are some inspirational snippets from her life to Olympic Champion but on the other hand the brevity of the book and how some topics are skimmed over left me disappointed.

As others have highlighted, the padding out of the book with double margins, blank pages and several pages devoted to her tables of record , the reader is left with a scant commentary. I read the book in four days of bed-time reading.

It felt like the book was rushed out which may be unfair but compared with other Christmas releases this lacks depth. To deal with Jessica's experience of providing drug samples in a few pages and the Olympic experience in such brevity is short changing the experience.

That said, still worth a read to get to know her better but if only Broadbent had imposed himself more on the content you may have a more in-depth account of some really interesting topics.
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on 7 March 2013
I did like this book, but straight from the double margins I knew it was going to be quite short. By the end of the book I did feel I got to know Jessica Ennis. She come across as a humble, dedicated, hardworking, and most of all relatable and likeable. This book is written for the general public in mind you do not have to be interested in sports to read and enjoy this book. This book is a great insight not only to Jessica but coping from acceptance to fame. Becoming an icon but staying grounded.

There are two main reason I could not give this book 5 stars is I though the book was a little too PC for me. An example would be Bradley Wiggins book In Pursuit of Glory in here you feel the raw emotion Bradley does in the heat of the moment. Swearing aside, (though Jessica does admit she is as susceptible to the occasional F-bomb as the rest of us), you feel his passion for his sport coming off the page. Jessica I have no doubt is just as passionate about her sport, people, and doping issues, but because her conscientious nature you do not get the same feel in her writing. She does also take the high road on issues of her bullying she talks about how bad and awkward it made her feel, but she does not name and shame them. She is just a better person them me, this would have been me taking revenge saying look at me now.

The other reason is I also would have liked to know some of the specific exercises that Jessica does. She goes into more detail of this when talking about running the 800 metres, e.g. running shorter distances at great speed with shorter recovery times. She does not really say how she trained for the other events she gives a broad over view but no specifics. She does say how she tweaked her techniques but being interested in sports I would like to know a bit more of the exercises.

The book is about the 2012 London Olympics, her hard fought journey to it and eventually winning. She mentions all the people how helped her along the way, some of her competitors who fall by the way side as life moves on for many of them but because of her dedication, sacrifice and focus she manages to carry on to achieve her dream. Appendix at the back contain and explanation of the points systems and all Jessica's career stats to the 2012 London Olympics. A good read, and by the end off it Jessica's honestly will make the reader feel more like a friend then a fan.
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on 10 March 2013
There's no doubt that Ennis is a superb athlete and a fantastic role model but this book is just plain dull. Having read the book cover to cover in no more than about 3 hours (not because I read particularly fast, but because the content is so thin) I don't think I know much more about her, and her life, than I did before I read the book. The details about how she initially got invoved in athletics and her early days in the sport are particularly poorly covered. As is her relationship with her coach Tony Minichello, who sounds a very interesting character and who merits far more coverage than he receives. The book feels like it was rushed, and that Jessica was reluctant to say anything too controversial for fear of upsetting anyone.
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on 26 December 2012
I really enjoyed reading Jess' book. It was a nice easy read that gave a good insight into the route and dedication Jess has to her chosen sport. A great sports woman with a life long passion for athletics, she is also quite humble and comes across as a normal woman who sometimes struggles with her confidence but keeps coming back for more.
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on 10 December 2012
I have followed the progress of Jessica from when she first came into view on our televisions, her bubbly outlook spoke volumes making her instantly likable. I am not a young man who is taken by her looks, I am 77 years old, and watching this young woman in action is better than all the tablets I am on. She is not only good at every thing she does but very determined to do better.
The book is very frank, she tells it as it is, her early years were quite traumatic but her breeding pulled her through, I think her english mother gives her grit but the athletic prowess comes from her father, they should both get a medal for giving us Jessica Olympic Champion.
Anyone with interest in athletics or people should read this book, It is first class.
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on 14 September 2013
This was an amazing book! It was very interesting and it included lots of detail about her journey to winning Gold. I loved the pictures inside and the records at the back were very good! I would definitely recommend this book, I loved it! A must-read!
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on 15 May 2014
The book has a simple chronological structure. It recounts the life of a young and successful athlete. It is narrated in a very humble way, so humble that it is easy to relate to Jessica Ennis.
Reading this book was fast and enjoyable. Unfortunately, I like reading athletes biographies to learn about motivation or understand what makes them so successful. In that case, I found the book missing deep introspection. In that respect, I preferred "A Life Without Limits" by Chrissie Wellington, another extremely successful British athlete.

Still, here are a few sections that I particularly liked:

Jessica Ennis was bullied at school for being small. "- Look at her, she's so small. That definitely fired me up on the inside. I wanted to show them, prove a point and prove myself. " On the eve of the London Olympics, her mum sent her usual text saying: "Don't let those big girls push you around."

During her preparation for the Olympics, Jessica Ennis did not leave the UK to go warm-weather training in the winter. She stayed in her lovely Sheffield and trained six days a week, including Sundays. "I felt good. I had worked like a slave during the winter." She talks about her dreaded hill runs in the cold and on the way back, she explains "We would shiver in the car as we were driven back to the EIS (English Institute of Sports) for a cup of hot chocolate and then a weights session in the gym. That was our Sunday. I would look at the people getting up late and buying the papers for a long, leisurely read and get jealous. The sessions at the EIS were just as bad. The lactic acid filled the muscles and made my legs feel leaden. It was not just my legs either. The acid got into my arms, my bum, my hamstrings. It spread like a black stain until it was constant and then I would feel this crushing pain behind my eyes."

Heptathlon culminates with the dreaded 800m. In August 2009, at the Berlin World Championships, Jessica Ennis started fast and she was leading the race after the first lap. "Then, coming off the last bend, Dobrynska (the Olympic champion from Ukraine) overtook me and I thought: "I am not having that". So I responded. Fight and flight. All those running sessions, all that hurt. I thought: "These few seconds are why you did all that. It's so you can push harder than the rest. if you don't push now, all those sessions are wasted". I came down the inside and won the race and the Gold medal."

At the 2012 London Olympic games, Jessica Ennis failed her first two attempts at 1.83m for the high jump. It was a disappointed performance for somebody who could jump 1.95m. She writes: "Anything less than 1.86m would be a disaster, in my reckoning. Dobrynska bowed out at 1.83m. It was a chance. My last chance. I thought about all the times I had pulled it out on the final attempt. "This is what makes a champion". I told myself"
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on 26 April 2013
I watched Jessica Ennis achieve Olympic Gold on that special Super Saturday, 4th August 2012. I was extremely happy to see her win because she had become the face of the games and had so much pressure laid upon her to perform at her best. She surpassed everyone's expectations. When I learned that she had written this book "Unbelievable" detailing how she had risen from (as the books intro describes it) "the girl next door" to Olympic champion in such a short time I was very keen to read the story behind the achievement.

I became aware of this book through Jessica's website where a video was posted of her describing the book and what she hopes the book will allow those who read it to achieve.

The phrase "never judge a book by its cover" holds very true for this book. At first glance it might appear to be all about athletics and the challenges an athlete faces. This book is about Jessica's story and how she overcame every obstacle in her way, time and time again to achieve her dreams.

The main objective of this book is for Jessica to show us how she achieved the amazing results she has, to show that not everything initially works out how you expect and that you should not let this stop you from trying again.

Her story is told by her in her own words and its refreshingly informal and honest, at times you could be forgiven for thinking that she is there in front of you telling you her story. Her account is written so well that I thought this several times.

I found that every time I picked up this book I could easily read 2 - 3 chapters. Her writing style draws you in and you feel so involved/absorbed in what she is describing. You want to see what happens next and for her to achieve her goals.

The style of writing is in the classic narrative and is very easy to follow. This is my favourite style of writing which is why I enjoyed her story so much.

When she describes how she became injured in 2008 I genuinely felt a lot of sympathy for her since you have been following her story from the very beginning and the reader knows how hard she tries. She is so honest and her description of how she felt at the time I found particularly moving.

Another aspect of the book that stands out for me is Jessica's resilience. You can sense the pressure she was under to deliver and it is remarkable how well she handles it. She even says that she "thrives on pressure", from reading her story, this is certainly very true. Her determination throughout the book is infectious. She lets nothing stand in her way of achieving her dreams and this is the most important lesson to us all.

I really respect Jessica's achievements and it is fantastic that she has been recognised and honoured for what she has done, not just for herself but for the countless others she has inspired with her story (me definitely included in that!). E.g. receiving the freedom of Sheffield, the recent Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award and her CBE and MBE from the Queen of England.

For me the reasons for my positive review are more than what I have mentioned. This book is an outstanding story of achieving your dreams against all of the odds. However this book has helped me to change aspects of my life in order to bring me significantly closer to achieving my dreams. This may sound ridiculous, especially if you have read the well-known classical novel from John Steinbeck, "Of Mice and Men" (with its main theme of trying to achieve your dreams) but Jessica's book has a message in it that can benefit us all.

This book has given me that extra determination, motivation and courage to strive to be better and work every day towards achieving my dreams of a better career. While I am very happy with where I work now, it is not where my true talent lies. I know this since I previously worked in a specific area of the IT industry that closely matched my talents and I loved every minute of it. Due to circumstances outside of my control I needed to choose a different career path for the time being. I have always wanted to return to where my talent and interests lie. Having tried and failed to do so over the last number of years I feel particularly connected to Jessica's story of always trying to achieve what you want and not always getting there.

She mentions that her biggest competitor is herself. I was surprised to read that since this is also what drives me. I have always strived to improve what I do and I how I do it. It is always me who to wants to do better and learn more than I already know. My achievements in life are due to my effort, hard work and forward planning. However with the poor economic times and austerity very much a part of daily life where I live sometimes even someone as motivated as me can feel a little disheartened.

Reading this book changed that and it has supercharged my motivation and I am already seeing the benefits of it. My attitude has changed so much that I can no longer be disheartened. My already strong motivation has now been permanently strengthened and will never weaken again.

In Jessica's words (in an interview), "You have to be totally up for it" and motivated or else you just won't win. I believe there is a lot of truth in those words. Giving 100% (or more) effort towards something you want to achieve is not only satisfying but can be very rewarding for others and for you.

This book has made me now realize that dreams can come true you just need to think about how you can move closer to achieving them. Don't let anyone stand in your way and no matter how many times you fail, learn from your failures and use that experience to make your next attempt better. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need and if you can ask for advice from people you know of or know personally who have achieved what you want, ask them for advice. Above all else, never, ever give up.

My advice would be to buy this book not just for the incredible story that Jessica tells but also for the message she is trying to convey to all of us (mentioned above) and the many positive changes that we can make in our lives if we too are just willing to try.

I am only a recent fan of hers since her success in the Olympics but I have already changed aspects of my life for the better which have already benefitted others and for that I will always be truly grateful and a devoted fan. It is with pride that I can say "the only way is Ennis."

Thank you.
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on 22 December 2012
After reading reviews on Amazon that everyone gave this book 5 stars I was really looking forward to reading it. I have to say that I was left somewhat underwhelmed by it compared to recent autobiographies I have read. With about 40 of the 242 pages containing no writing at all you would feel cheated if you'd paid full price for it. This is only a review of the book thou and in my opinion Jessica Ennis is still a wonderful athlete and a better role model for girls today than all the reality TV stars put together.
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on 30 December 2012
As an avid Jessica fan for a few years now, I like others were looking forward to reading her book and finding out more about her and her journey, especially since her injuries before Beijing and how she coped with it to bring Olympic glory in London.
With Jessica's nature being fairly quiet, secretive and a will to stay away from the spot light which I credit her enormously for being it doesn't bode well for a autobiography. What it leaves you with is a 250 page book in large font and many chapter pages with subjects being dusted over. Don't get me wrong its a nice read and you really feel a strong connection with Jessica and her personality however when only a handful pages are written about key areas of her life you have to wonder why bother.
I get the feeling that this is probably not something that Jessica wanted to do. Her personality as I say is very secretive, she hates the spot light and still views herself as a 'Girl from Yorkshire' and so therefore was probably the publishers who wanted to cash in rather than Jessica's willingness to write a book. You can almost sense Jessica at times wondering 'Should I include this in my book?'
I love Jessica and what she has done and how she has done it but you won't learn much from this book and in whole was a disappointment.
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