2016 Reviews · Goodreads giveaway · memoir · sport

Book review: Life As I Know It by Michelle Payne


Life As I Know It is the remarkable story of the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, Michelle Payne. At just 30 years old, this inspirational and determined young woman was able to achieve her lifelong dream of winning Australia’s most prestigious sporting event. Michelle Payne has worked in collaboration with writer and broadcaster John Harms to impart her very personal rise to sporting success.

Michelle’s memoir immediately takes the reader into her confidence. Life As I Know It begins with Michelle‘s family origins and explains how the Payne family has had a long held connection to horses and racing. The memoir also goes into Michelle’s schooling, her family’s faith, her training and significant events/people who shaped who she is today. What became apparent while reading Michelle’s memoir is her strength in the face of adversity. Michelle Payne has faced many hurdles in her life, some from an early age. She tragically lost her mother in an accident at just six months old, which left her father a single parent to ten children. Michelle also had a number of debilitating horse riding accidents that almost lead to her retirement from the horse riding game. Payne also speaks frankly about how hard it is to be a professional senior female jockey in a sport that is male dominated. Equally, I was astounded by the sheer grit and determination that goes into becoming an elite jockey. The drastic diets and intense fitness regimes are so gruelling it is hard to fathom what Michelle went through to attain success. The most enjoyable part of this novel is the detailed account of the events leading up to and the day of the Melbourne Cup.  I did feel like I was racing with Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance at Flemington, it made for an exhilarating read. Life As I Know It is a memoir that is written to inspire, build positivity and demonstrates the strength of the human spirit.

Life As I Know It features a glimpse into the world of elite horse racing through the eyes of an expert, the momentous Michelle Payne. Even if you only have a passing interest in the world of horse racing, it is easy to appreciate the story behind the legend, Michelle Payne.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Melbourne University Press/Goodreads via a giveaway.


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