Monday, April 21, 2014

Gym Candy

I recently read a book called Gym Candy written by Carl Deuker. It is a story about running back Mick Johnson who has dreams of winning and of being the best. All his life Mick has lived and breathed football. He has dreams of one day being like his dad, Mike, a high school and college star and former 3rd round draft pick of an NFL team. His dad has been working with him since he was four, taking him to all the best camps and pushing him to be his best. Mick goes through his early life dominating in football. When a new coach takes over his 8th grade team, Mick learns an awful truth about his dad – Mike got by on his talent because he was the best, but he never put in the hard work to succeed. That’s why he never lasted in the NFL. Mick vowed that this will not happen to him. But football is a rough, unforgiving sport. It requires power, grace, speed, quickness, and knowledge of the game. Once Mick reaches 9th grade, the varsity coach invites him to tryout for the varsity team. But Mick faces tough competition from other players who are stronger than he is. He decides to join a gym instead of working out with his teammates, and he is introduced to the dark side of the sport. His dad hires him a personal trainer named Peter Volz. Peter notices that Mick could use a little “help,” so he offers Mick steroids, or “gym candy.” At first Mick refuses but in the end he decides to try them. His performances become record-breaking, but the side effects are terrible. Mick suffers ’roid rage, depression, body acne, and he started growing breasts. He could not take his shirt off without being embarrassed. Mick realizes that these are all side effects to his steroid use, and stops using them until he is challenged by other players. In the end, Mick takes the “easy” way to success is by taking a new steroid from Peter, but unfortunately it forces Mick down a nightmare of a ride, that almost causes him his life, but worse yet, puts him in his own prison in his mind. In my opinion this book was one of the best books that I have read in a long time. It had everything that you could ask for in a book. I really like how intense the story gets at times. In addition, the story is somewhat sad at times. The steroids do make Mick stronger, but they have many bad side effects. There are so many lessons to learn in these pages, but just as his dad found out, Mick learned that there are no short cuts to hard work and dedication. Gym Candy’s is action packed and intense. You’ll find yourself unable to look away as Mick goes down a road that even he knows is the wrong one to travel.

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