Title: Looking for a Fight: A Memoir
Publisher: Dial Press
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: Collectible: Like New
Signed Advance uncorrected galley proof. Signed by author on title page. Also included is the review copy letter from the publisher -- Dial Press. Like new paperback! No spine crease. Text is clean, unmarked, tight. (Shelf location: A) All items carefully packed to avoid damage from moisture and rough handling. Tracking included. Bookseller Inventory # 033225
Synopsis: Looking For A Fight
"I should have been alarmed at the canvas I had, in my bullheadedness, unwittingly stepped into--but I never could back down from a challenge," writes Lynn Snowden Picket in her frank, powerful memoir. An accomplished journalist, Lynn had just completed the New York Marathon and was toned and fit, but underneath she was smarting from a recent and hurtful divorce. Seeking an outlet for her stifled aggression, her trainer led her to a sweat-stained gym in Brooklyn, a place renowned for producing skilled, hard-hitting boxers. At Gleason's, Lynn would learn how to fight.
Lynn steps into the ring with a cockiness that is "part naïveté and part rage." Before long she's sparring with men twice her size, with years more experience. For the men at Gleason's, fighting is sometimes their only available path to glory, money, and fame. At their hands, three times a week, Lynn's ribs slam against her lungs, her face bruises, her hands swell. More difficult to overcome, however, are the tenacious panic attacks that come both in and outside the ring. Gleason's has become the focal point of Lynn's life; its mixed smells of machismo, adrenaline, and fear have become her own.
After ten months Lynn is ready for her first public fight against a woman, her equal in weight and strength. This match will be the greatest test of Lynn's skill. The greatest test of her courage, however, will be knowing when to quit.
Review: The author was in her mid-30s and "looking for a fight" after a humiliating divorce, when she began training as a boxer at Gleason's, the legendary Brooklyn gym. She wasn't there just to blow off steam, however. A veteran journalist, whose research had driven her to perform as a stripper and tour as a roadie for a heavy metal band, Picket "wanted the real deal," as she told Gleason's owner. And she got it: her brisk, no-frills prose cogently conveys the sweaty, muscle-fatiguing slog of training; the visceral fear that she experienced in her first sparring matches; the elation that was prompted by her trainer's approving comment, "You hit like an animal"; and the shock of her realization--when she punched a guy who accidentally spilled beer on her while they were watching a match--that, "once violence is learned, it cannot be unlearned." The squeamish are unlikely to yearn to pick up gloves after reading Picket's vivid descriptions of swollen knuckles mottled with bruises, blood pouring down her injured face, and blackened toenails dropping off; she makes the physical toll of boxing very real, particularly in a sobering afterword about the sport's high incidence of brain damage. The author herself quit after her first big bout (which she won), concluding that fighting was a misguided attempt "to settle a score that was started back in sixth grade when I was pushed off the swings by a bully." Yet, she limns emotions that are familiar to many women ("I wanted to feel powerful, to take up space in the world, to stop apologizing") and chronicles a personal journey in which boxing was, perhaps, a necessary way station. --Wendy Smith
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