... a sprawling—and in many ways outstanding—biography of Gibson ... In the only glaring lapse in her book, Ms. Brown states that it is 'fitting' to describe Gibson’s 'gender nonconformity' as 'expansively queer,' even though she insists that her purpose in doing so is 'not to add to conjectures about her sexuality.' Her research for this book didn’t reveal that Gibson had 'intimate female partners.' So why the insistence on Gibson’s 'queerness'? These few paragraphs in the book’s introduction are, however, a mere blip in a biography that is otherwise honest, sympathetic and nuanced, a labor of love and respect.
This is a monumental, comprehensive biography that blends Gibson’s remarkable athletic accomplishments with the inspirational story of how she lived through the Jim Crow era and navigated segregation, racism, and gender discrimination, all the while fighting for the integration of sports.
Though the narrative is overwhelmed by details of every game, Brown sensitively examines Gibson’s refusal to be seen as “a representative” of her race, offering context for her views on social justice, women’s rights, and African American causes.