At a skating rink on Coney Island, Tatyana first puts on ice skates purchased by her father. She was five-years-old then. Now, years later, her loving father is in the final stages of kidney failure. “He can no longer hear me talking to him.” Tatyana is overcome with deep sorrow.
Allegedly suffering from asthma, Victoria Hecht’s coach recommends a physical to determine if she has the stamina for figure skating. A thorough physical work-up shows Victoria has two congenital heart defects, not asthma.
Erica Archambault overcomes many physical problems and illnesses including meningitis but continues to skate. None of these hardships are as devastating to Erica as when her father leaves their Colorado home and refuses to return.
Skater Kylie Gleason visits an orphanage while in Romania. There, a profoundly saddened young child deeply affects her. Now she wonders whether skating should always be the main part of her life.
Because ice dancer Emily Samuelson falls during a dance routine, in order to avoid slashing her head, her partner must land heavily on Emily’s hand. The accident requires surgery to repair a severed tendon in Emily’s middle finger.
Fourteen-year-old Eliana Roth suffers from Tourette Syndrome except when ice skating. Tourette’s causes embarrassing involuntary body movements, throat sounds, and even the unintentional use of obscene words or gestures.
All of these courageous young women you will meet in Skating Forward. There are many books on the market about persons who must deal with staggering life problems. But this book is unique because ALL of the women described are skating heroines who face situations which could easily crush most of us.
For sure, this is not a woman’s book; nor is it just a series of memoirs about ice skating. Skating Forward will leave all readers — female and male — in awe because it is one single tale of the stubbornness and flexibility of the human spirit. It will help people who are seeking a beam of light at the end of what could be a darkened tunnel of deep despair.
Author Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz’s book would be a fascinating read for high school and college students to study and discuss — particularly youth who feel life has treated them unjustly. The women in Skating Forward amend their lives and their spirits against all odds. You will not forget them.