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Twists and Turns Paperback – 23 Jul 2013
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Matt's had a difficult life by anyone's standards. He's been diagnosed with clinical depression; self harm; had a single mother who used to hit him; became addicted to the club drug scene in his early teens; and was in rehab for a crystal meth addiction before the London 2012 games. Not to mention that he's one of the few openly gay athletes out there, and only met his father for the first time in his early twenties.
Alongside the stories of his life to date, the book is filled with anecdotes and insight on the dangers, pain and sacrifice it takes to become a world-class diver.
Matt comes across as being honest, likeable, and quite vulnerable. He describes that he has some Asperger's type traits, which he may have inherited from his mother. He does come across as sometimes being a bit lonely and a bit of an outsider - as a child he lacked the empathy to see that rather than playing with his rabbit, he was actually killing the poor thing.
Perhaps because of these traits, I sometimes felt that the book didn't give enough attention to describing the people that surround Matt. His grandmother sounds like a saint, and his partner Lachlan an amazing guy - I'd like to have known more about them - even basic things like what they look like, alongside their own interests and struggles. They're only really represented through Matt himself, and they could be bigger characters in their own right.
My other criticism is parts of the book can read like a bit of a shopping list - "I went to one tournament and won this medal, than to another tournament and won that medal, then somewhere else and another medal" - I guess the guy has a lot to boast about but these sections weren't that engaging, and would have been more interesting with anecdotes or stories from each tournament.
All in all, though, this is a great read for anyone interested in diving, inspirational sportspeople, or mental health. Recommend it.
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