This month’s book review is On the Right Track: From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome and Succeed written by Marion Jones and published in 2010. I give this book Five Stars ♦♦♦♦♦
In her autobiography that focuses on the sotry of her conviction for her lying to federal prosecutors in an athletic doping investigation, Marion Jones talks about the importance of taking responsibility for your actions no matter what your status or role is in life. She describes how guilt can eat away at a person and the only way to cure that pain is to shed light on the truth.
No one is beyond making a mistake and likewise no one is beyond admitting when they are wrong and asking for forgiveness. The main premise is that in order to avoid situations where you feel out of control you have to surround yourself with people who have your best interest at heart and you have to always stop and take a minute to think about your choices before you react. If you don’t know what to do that is the time to call on those people who care about you and will hold you accountable.
There are so many words of wisdom spoken by Marion in her story. One of the biggest insights I gleaned is that it takes a brave soul to be honest. There is so much pressure involved when you are an elite athlete and it’s easy to be taken advantage of. You become so used to people taking care of your needs and telling you how to get stronger, faster, and better that it’s so easy to lose yourself in that world. It appeared that she was in control. The world knew her as the fastest woman so she must be a boss. We never realized that she didn’t really have it as together as the image portrayed.
While I enjoyed listening to Marion tell her story there was one area where I felt like I disagreed with her. This was when she explaing how she took responsibility for her choices and decided not to put any of that on the men in her life. The men who claimed to love her and have her best interest at heart were so wrong and they used her. Yes, she had her own mind, but they obviously took advantage of her vulnerability and trust. I’m not saying she should have called them out, especially if she’s asking for forgiveness, but if they were emotionally controlling then call a spade a spade. In the long run I guess she had to say and do what was best for her so that she could heal and move on.
If there were any holes in her story, again I say it was in talking about the men in her life. Marion shared with the readers her daddy issues and the role that it may have played in how she handled relationships with men. I guess this wasn’t the place for some of the conversation, but I’d have liked her to devote a little more time and space to giving more examples of what girls primarily should be aware of. When she talked about women in the prison system you could see how they were still being victimized as adults by men in their lives. This was in no way a male bashing or blaming book yet it does touch on the types of relationships that women sometimes form that are based on LACK in their lives.
Listening to Marion’s story was spelbinding. I am an avid reading and loved her use of words, imagery, and language. She was incredible vulnerable and left me feeling like I would love to simply sit down one on one with her and chat over tea on a porch.
I had several key takeaways. Here they are in no particular order.
- When society is led by the media people become very short sighted. Fans and the general public quickly forgot how much Marion Jones accomplished prior to the olympics. Her world became about this one moment in time, one mistake.
- Prison is a mean place. Prior to reading her story, I already knew that prison is not about rehabilitation. Its an institutional practice driven by punishment and too often run at the whim of the jailers.
- No matter how down and messed up your situation don’t let anyone take away your truth and who you are. Stop and think. When Marion described how the feds asked her that one question that changed her life I could see it going in slow motion. Just one word, yes or no took her down. What’s behind the words we speak? Behind her’s was fear.
- Faith will take you a long way and it can redeem you.
Here are some quotes and snippets from Marion’s story on page 162.
“While God does his part of opening doors and answering prayers we have to do ours.” “While God did his part, I knew I had to do mine. My part was to figure out what I call my “it factor” – that inner potential that is the key to self-confidence, success, and fulfillment. Everyone has an “it factor” It’s a bundle of our strength, talents, and gifts – everything we offer to the world. I had to sit down and identify mine to get a greater vision of what was possible.”
Question? In what area of your life can more accountability keep you from making the wrong decisions?