The Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women's World Cup champion describes her childhood in a conservative California town, her athletic achievements, and her public advocacy of civil rights and urgently needed social change.
Rapinoe skillfully weaves together her soccer career from youth sports to the 2019 World Cup championship game at which she earned the Golden Boot Award, with her growing dedication to advocacy ... By sharing her story, Rapinoe provides a history of the anti-racism movement, making it accessible to those who haven’t yet read the impressive books published in the last few years that delve more deeply into systemic racism ... This is not just a book for soccer enthusiasts, nor is it only about equal rights ... Thank you, Megan Rapinoe, for a book that is so courageously honest, thought-provoking, informative, and inspiring.
... spirited ... One Life makes clear that Rapinoe’s battles go far beyond the struggle for pay equity and soccer glory. If not exactly a Rules For Radicals, the book (co-written with British author Emma Brockes) is as much about activism as sport ... Beyond a fair amount of well-intentioned sloganeering, Rapinoe illuminates her upbringing in Redding as the daughter of loving and conservative parents ... Powered by her just do it ferocity, Rapinoe isn’t an especially introspective narrator and flits from incident to incident without always revealing much about her feelings along the way. But if neither a great nor conventional sports biography, One Life may be an impactful one. It’s a big f— you (she does like her f-bombs) to the 'Shut up and dribble' crowd that tried to silence the activism of Rapinoe and the likes of LeBron James ... The book is also a reminder to aspiring athletes about a world and responsibilities beyond the games they play. Rapinoe came of age before the rise of the youth sports-industrial complex and laments the negative messaging sent to kids who are fast-tracked for glory or dismissed as has-beens by age 12 ... makes it clear that Rapinoe’s greatest accomplishments may ultimately come away from the soccer pitch. She’s a new kind of American hero. Or, as Tom Hanks said at a gala honoring Rapinoe, 'a fine daughter of our great country.'
In many ways, Megan Rapinoe seems like the perfect athlete-memoirist for the moment ... It is the hyperfocus on this goal that takes away from some of the storytelling in the book. Through 200-plus pages, we never really learn exactly who Megan Rapinoe is. There is a stark lack of scene detail in One Life, which can lead it's readers to feel that Rapinoe spends the length of the book keeping them at arm's length. Romantic relationships, aside from the relationship with her fiance Sue Bird, are blips in the book. While it's understandable that Rapinoe may have wanted to respect the privacy of past partnerships by not sharing too many intimate details, the relationships feel like afterthoughts that don't actually serve to show us anything about Rapinoe as a narrator ... One thing the relationships do show us is Rapinoe's queerness. This openness is one of book's biggest strengths ... By weaving her queer identity throughout the book as she does, she also shows readers how it's about so much more than just who she dates—being gay is a core part of her identity and impacts every aspect of her life and worldview ... The heart of One Life, however, and what might have made the more interesting book, is when it tells the story of the USWNT's fight for equal pay. At its very core, this is — or perhaps, should have been — a book about labor organizing, about what happens when a group of people recognize their strength and the collective power they hold. Rapinoe discusses the impact that organizing with her teammates had on the power balance of the team, and I wish we had gotten to see more of it ... unlikely to convert new fans. In trying so hard to center the book around consciousness raising, Rapinoe loses much of the personal storytelling that so naturally lends itself to doing just that. She is clear with the reader that the reason so many people are willing to listen to her is because she is small and cute and white — recognizing the privilege she has that makes her a less threatening messenger to some white Americans. Her clear-eyed commitment to justice is admirable. But there are others we need to hear from right now, in this moment, where Black organizers across the country helped stop a second-term for Donald Trump.