Life As I Know It - Michelle Payne with John Harms
I must admit that I don't know much about horse racing, but seeing Michelle Payne win the Melbourne Cup (not to mention that emotional speech she gave directly afterwards), late last year made me want to find out more about this inspirational woman.
I borrowed Life As I Know It as an ebook through my local library, and read it within a couple of days.
It is an easy read, and is suitable for young and old of either gender.
The story begins with Michelle's early childhood years, and I got a real sense of the family's love and respect for each other. This remains throughout the whole story. The memories she shares about precious family moments like Christmas, are told with love and humour.
One of ten children, and growing up on a rural property, Michelle had dreams of riding a Melbourne Cup winner from age 5.
We learn about Michelle's passion for horses.
Many of her siblings are involved in horse racing as well. Some of them are jockeys, and her brother Stevie, who has Down Syndrome, was the strapper for Prince Of Penzance - the horse Michelle rode in the Melbourne Cup.
It was lovely to read how supportive her family are, and the close bond she shares with them all.
After reading the book, I am even more of a fan of Michelle's, because even though she has faced a lot of hard times, including gruelling diets and exercise programs to remain fit and at the weight needed for horse riding, as well as many injuries, she has handled it so well and defied all the odds. Even as I was reading the book, Michelle was currently being discharged from hospital after undergoing pancreatic surgery following yet another fall. Whether she continues to ride remains unseen, but regardless of what the future holds for her, she should be proud of her achievements, including this book. It's a really great feel-good story.