After Running While Black from Alison M. Désir, this month’s book is another must-read memoir. Lauren Fleshman (@fleshmanflyer)’s memoir is both sharp and vulnerable, and got me to keep reading (listening) without missing a beat. I initially thought this book would be similar to How She Did It because they both touch on the challenges that female athletes face throughout their careers. I found Good for a Girl to be a much deeper and more personal book with a clearer message on some of the systemic issues that impact the long term health of girls and women. It has made the New York Times Best Selling list, emphasizing the reach of her story beyond the running world.
Through her own experience paired with a lot of scientific research, Lauren Fleshman provides a candid view on the running world. She is the one reading the audio, and I highly recommend this format to let her walk you through her passion, challenges and frustrations. This book is also a manifesto for change: providing clear suggestions on much needed tools, education and support systems for girls, their parents, or their coaches. She also raises awareness on the dark sides of the incentive structures built into athlete contracts or of the marketing practices of the sports industry as a whole: performance requirements, no pregnancy clauses, stress of injury, sexualization of the female body, …
February being Eating Disorder Awareness month, a lot of people have spoken up about the challenges that the focus on weight or body fat measurement have on both the physical and mental health of athletes, and in particular of women as they go through puberty. This is another poignant example, which feels even more vivid as she starts as someone caring deeply about a healthy relationship with food and still doesn’t to manage to avoid the trap.
Lauren Fleshman has been interviewed about her book and her story on multiple podcasts. I particularly enjoyed the interviews on Some Work, All Play by David and Megan Roche, Nobody asked us by Des Linden and Kara Goucher (both of them with memoirs just out or coming out) and Trail Society by Corrine Malcolm, Keely Henninger and Hillary Allen.