Cover Image: 9 Lives by 35

9 Lives by 35

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Member Reviews

Mary Sanders was destined to be an Olympian and follow in her father’s footsteps. Her life as a gymnast was plagued with setbacks, financial hardships, and grief with her goal being to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Mary reinvents herself time and time again. From Olympic gymnast to Cirque du Soleil acrobat she puts her all into whichever life she’s pursuing. She recounts her struggles and how her family and her faith helped to get her to where she is today.

I really enjoyed this memoir and learning about the behind-the-scenes that go into a gymnastics performance or a Cirque du Soleil show. We often don’t think of all the hard work and grueling hours that have to be put in for us to see the finished project.

Thank you to NetGalley and DunDurn Press for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel. #NetGalley #9LivesBy35

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Thank you for sharing 9 lives by 35 with me.
I wrote my memoir about 50 challenges before 50.
It was great to see this book and its many lives.

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9 lives by 39 is a memoir about how someone can go through many different phases or “lives” in their life. Sanders is an Olympic rhythmic gymnast who grew up in Canada and went on to compete in the United States because of her dual citizenship. She lost her father, also a gymnast, passed away when she was quite young which left her mother a single mom with multiple kids who were all athletes, but she always did whatever she could to make sure her kids could continue to follow their dreams. When regular gymnastics was not the right fit for her anymore, she switched to rhythmic and was really successful. Unfortunately, there is less funding available for Canadian gymnasts, so when she was offered the opportunity to compete (with funding) for the US, this led to another stage in her life. After the Olympics, she went on to perform as an acrobat with Cirque du Soleil, another unique stage. Throughout her life she persevered through difficult situations, pushed her body past all limits and fought to maintain relationships even while constantly being on the road. This story reminds readers that you can follow your dreams no matter what your situation is, but it also is cautionary in that sometimes you need to consider what is worth the risk when it comes to your health, your family and your life. Overall, it was a super good book and I loved that I could read about gymnastics, and rhythmic gymnastics and from both a Canadian and American perspective. There was even a little commentary on the Larry Nassar case in USA gymnastics which I thought was pretty interesting. It is awful how many people he abused in his career!

Thanks to @netgalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this great book!

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A truthful and thoughtful look at the life of a top gymnastic . In her own words you feel her transformation as each stage of her 9 lives by the age of 35. As she grows and lives the fact honesty and hindsight shones through. You think about the side of gymnastics you don't see the true dedication sacrifice and health battles. It gave ne a deeper understanding of what it means to be thus dedicated. I throughly enjoyed the highs and lows and would recommended this to anyone.
Thank you netgallery and publisher and author for a solid 5 star read

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I'll automatically read any non fiction gymnastics book, so despite never having heard of Mary Sanders, the cover drew me in with this one.
Mary Sanders was a Canadian then US rhythmic gymnast. I know the basics but not super familiar with rhythmic gymnastics so was excited to learn more about it.
Only the first two chapters are devoted to gymnastics though. Each section is actually a chapter in Sanders' life, throughout the career evolution she's had; from Cirque du Soleil acrobat to television producer and everything in between, she's had a very interesting life indeed.
You wouldn't know it though from the tone of this book, which was frustrating at times. She writes as though it was a long old trip to the supermarket and what might be the more interesting details are glossed over and on occasion seem to be a source of annoyance to the author. For example, she doubles down on her religious beliefs but also didn't want her young stepdaughter at her wedding at all. Nobody is linear or uncomplicated and so no judgement but this was a contradiction I couldn't get my head around. I will say though, Sanders explains the politics behind international gymnastics well and it was an interesting read. I enjoyed the chapter format, but could have done without the summaries at the end of each, which felt like an overexplanation of what I'd already read during each chapter.

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I absolutely loved this book. I tend to struggle reading autobiographies and every time I picked up this book, I struggled to put it back down.

9 Lives by 35 is the story of Mary Sanders, and how she grew from being her father's "Little Olympian" to the woman she is today. I really enjoyed how the story was organized and how each chapter was a different "life". The book displays Mary's passion for everything she has pursued, and the reflections at the end of each chapter bring together her past "lives" as she springboards herself towards her next passion.

My favorite aspect of the book was the "What I Learned" reflection at the end of each chapter, where Mary debriefs on the most recent "life", reviewing the Reason she got through each day, the Reinvention she went through, and Right she had to make the choices she did and how they would bring her into the next chapter of her life.

Thank you to Mary Sanders for sharing her story with us and providing readers with the opportunity to witness her many lives, as well as give us the confidence to follow our passions and live every single one of our lives to the fullest.

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i love a good memior… honestly i don’t think there are enough althlete memiors/ bios so i def welcome this …. if you love to watch the olympics i would def recommend this book!

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I am always in awe of athletes who dedicate their lives to the intense training of their sport, only to be hit by injury or accidents at a vital moment in their career. I found Mary's recount of her time as a gymnast fascinating, especially her recollection of the Athens Olympics.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for an advanced copy.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book pre-publication.
As the cover says "re-invention" and that is what Mary did....each had a connective link to what went before but she is able to compartmentalise her life into the 9 Lives. A fascinating read to a non-gymnast but entertaining too. I wish her well for her next re-invention.

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I received a free copy of, 9 Lives by 35, by Mary Sanders, from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Mary has had an incredible life, going to the Olympics as a rhythmic gymnast, working for cirque de soleil, and working for Robert Herjavec. Working for Robert, Mary got to watch him on Dancing with the Stars, and fall in love with his dance pro Kim. Mary is a fascinating person to read about, I liked her spiritual side too. A good book about a well rounded woman.

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Being a former gymnast and someone who has always loved gymnastics this book is a real testament to the training and his difficult it is to be what we are.

Coming from a background of artistic and not rythmic means I don't have the same background knowledge of the events or of skills performed or what they are named. What it does give me is an appreciation for what these people go through daily.

Rythmic gymnastics is a very different skill set and it's more based on beauty of the movements as well as the ability to use devices in the performances. While the artistic gymnastics is very much more about the tricks and the strength then in the poetry in motion.

A gymnasts life can be lonely as you train so much of your time which leaves little for anything else. Often the gymnasts become your family more than your own family. In this case her father was her coach which allowed that bond but as you will read it felt very strained and she was pushed beyond her abilities and capabilities at a very young age.

Her father's name for her of Little Olympian must have been a huge pressure for her as she was trying not to let her father down as he was unable to achieve that goal.

I could her anguish at parts of this book and felt ashamed at some of how she was treated by Canadian gymnastics federation.

I love the story of the Athens Olympics and touring and then instead of doing her university degree she went to cirque du Soleil. Following her passion for performance.

The concept of the life and how many she has is interesting however it can at times be a little bit as well since that is what separates her chapters as well as all the major important points of her life.

Finding out that Nassar had been part of her life in 2012 was sickening especially knowing what happened as she explained it. It is horrid to think of what the young women who were treated by Nassar endured.

The book was very well written and edited. I am coming to the conclusion that Dundurn Press the publisher has the most amazing team for memoirs. This is my second memoir from the publisher and both have been some of the best writing that I have seen.

What a harrowing life she has had from a young age up until she was an adult and had accidents that could have killed her. She persevered through everything and has shown a grace that few seem to have.

The books title fits well with the idea of having different lives. Like the title this is like a cat and she ended up using her 9 lives and was only 35. Mary is a powerful person who survived multiple issues and she managed to come out stronger and with the family that she deserves to have.

I want to thank the author for writing this book and the publisher for granting me the opportunity to read the advanced reader copy so that I could do an honest review.

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This book was surprising In wonderful ways.

I’m a fan of gymnastics, I love watching and read most of the memoirs that come out related to the sport, of everything I’ve picked up I’ll say I was surprised to rank this one so high. Often Olympians who release a book fall into one of two categories, incredible positivity a la Shaun Johnson off the back of a big win, or a more dark and personal story like Dominique Moceanu. Of the upbeat writing, I tend to feel like things are glossed over in the rush to get published quickly before the gymnast falls out of the public eye. The darker tends to be my preference, though often with those the presence of a ghostwriter is also strongly felt.

This book felt different. While I’m sure there was plenty of help in editing, it’s pretty obvious that the author is not a writer. In this case I didn’t mind! It felt very honest and while at times the storytelling felt a little dry, the format and story being told was unique and captivating. I loved feeling like these really were scenes from her life as she remembers them. Mary Sanders has clearly lead a very unique life, and reading it was a treat!

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A great look into the sacrifice, struggle, and passion it takes to become an Olympic gymnastics. It was great to read the side stories we don’t get to hear as we watch them compete. It was also a good look into what life is like after retirement and what it’s like to adjust to a world you hadn’t been accustomed to.

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This book was even better than I expected! I loved reading about her life and experiences not only as an athlete and performer but also as a mother and family member. I also loved how it was separated into different "lives", I thought that was really cool and original.

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Synopsis (from Netgalley, the provider of the book for me to review.)
Olympic gymnast and Cirque du Soleil acrobat Mary Sanders shares her incredible story of dedication and personal sacrifice that led to success and reinvention.
Mary Sanders was handed an Olympic dream by her father from the moment she was born. Determined to follow in his footsteps, the young gymnast struggled through training setbacks, financial hardships, and personal rivalries, under a cloud of grief, to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. But that achievement was only the beginning for a woman determined to reinvent herself and consistently raise her own standards for success.
In this revealing memoir, Mary recounts her journey from Olympian to Cirque du Soleil acrobat to entertainment executive working for Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec while balancing life at home with two children.
Through it all, no matter what obstacles are thrown in her path, Mary pushes forward, leaning on her faith, her family, and her enduring optimism to support her in each of her nine lives so far.

An interesting biography that is hidden within a self-help book that will appeal to fans of reinvention and reacclimating their lives upon the advice of others. Not my cup of tea, but I know of clients who would lap this book up despite its clunky writing styles (I kept thinking that it was 9 different forms of narration....the opening written by Robert Haerjvec was the best writing in the book.) and love its #CANcon

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I’ve always been a gymnastics enthusiast and I am so excited to read Mary’s story! It’s so impressive to see what these athletes do and how they dedicate their lives to the sport. I know our readers will enjoy this story as well and this will be a welcome addition to our sports/biography section.

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