Book Review –“It’s not about the bike – My journey back to life” by Lance Armstrong

As the title of the book suggests -“It’s not about the bike”- and it is not. Although Lance Armstrong is a world famous athlete, you don’t need to be a cycling enthusiast to read this book. The book does contain some technical terms but Lance Armstrong has explained them quite finely for a layman to understand. The sub-title rightly conveys the message of the book. If it was up to me I would have described it in just one word – “Life”. The one who respects life and also the ones who have struggled courageously through their hardest battles and come out triumphant should definitely give it a go.

Lance Armstrong with his writer Sally Jenkins has written the book in simple and uncomplicated language without use of high-flown(please use another word) words that help keep the focus of the reader intact.

The book discusses Armstrong’s life and how he struggled through deadly cancer and came out victorious. At the age of 25 having a great and established career in the sport Armstrong gets to know that he is suffering from testicular cancer in its final stage and that it had spread all over his body. His life is summarized in ten chapters and chronichles all his life- how it was before cancer, with cancer as a valiant patient and finally after cancer as an inspiration.

The journey of life which Armstrong has unfolded for the readers at large is remarkable as well as very inspiring. And this is the one reason Armstrong has come forward with his cancer experience, so that people don’t lose hope however bad the circumstances may be rather learn something from them. The story revolves around many people, the most important ones being his dauntless single mother, his friends like Bill Stapleton, his team mates, doctors and nurses at the hospital, his wife Kik and son Luke with Armstrong taking the centre stage.

It is indeed interesting to see how Armstrong connects his cycling experiences with his cancer experience in his book. As his life story progresses, one starts developing respect for the cycling legend and his independent strong-willed mother, as two great human beings. For me, it’s Armstrong’s mother Linda who is the greatest pillar of strength for him. The hardships that the two go through together is inspiring and the bond that they share is indeed emotionally moving.

The positive way in which Armstrong looks at his cancer treatment and the way in which it helps him evolve as a more compassionate and considerate person is one thing that captivates the reader. After recovering from cancer Armstrong started his own cancer organization- Livestrong – to help cancer patients physically, mentally and emotionally.

The manner in which he connects every dot and links every following chapter with the succeeding one is delightful thereby maintaining a perfect flow throughout and not making the reader feel disillusioned. The turmoil that he goes through after surviving cancer is even more distressing but how equally valiantly he comes out of it is detailed out in a separate chapter ’Survivorship‘. Chapters covering ’The Tour‘ (Tour de France) and ’Kik‘ (his better half) are equally commendable as by the end there’s an automatic respect that transpires for the two protagonists of the stories- Lance Armstrong and Kik (who is kik?)respectively.

It’s not a book for some, it’s a book for everyone because we all need to ‘live’ life and not just live with it. This account of Lance Armstrong teaches everyone the importance of appreciating each moment of the precious and beautiful lives we all have been blessed with. It truly ascertains the saying of Napoleon Hill -“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches.”

Anumeha Saxena