Simply Verona: Breaking All the Rules - Verona van de Leur
At the tender age of 15, Verona van de Leur took the gymnastics world by storm to become the greatest gymnast the Netherlands had ever produced. Her remarkable talent brought her gold medals, money, and fame. Although she seemed like a young woman on top of the world, Verona’s life soon spun out of control. Abused and exploited by those closest to her, when her gymnastics career came to an end, Verona suddenly lost everything that she had worked so hard to achieve.
Living on the streets of Holland, the one-time world champion gymnast was homeless, penniless, living out of her car, arrested and jailed, and contemplating taking her own life. But from the depths of her despair, Verona emerged to rediscover herself and to become a successful, albeit controversial, entrepreneur. She returned to gymnastics, entered the world of adult entertainment and modeling, and went on to start successful business ventures that ultimately turned her life around.
Now, for the first time, the controversial international gymnastics star, Verona van de Leur, tells her true story to the world in this no holds barred autobiography.
My review: I'll start the new year with a review for an older book who I believe didn't get enough exposure. Verona is, after all, a world champion and her story needs to be known by everyone who enjoyed watching her compete. Through her memoir, which is heartbreaking at times, Verona speaks out on topics that are not discussed enough in the world of sports: sexual harassment, abuse, depression and suicidal thoughts, and family tragedy.
She starts by telling the story of her childhood and her start in gymnastics. The readers will get an inside glimpse into the world of athletes training to reach the top. She talks in detail about her experience with competitions. Later, after meeting Frank, her coach, she discusses abuse, fear, and body image. Her degrading relationship with her parents, and being touched by "Jimmy" during training, being forced to split her money with Frank, are eye-opening.
Her life took another turn when she met her now-partener online. They ended up homeless, living in her car, even arrested, and put in jail. She talks about how she got back on her feet and how she started working in the adult entertainment as a cam girl. After everything she endured, this strong woman still had the courage to become an advocate for those who had suffered from sexual harassment. She talks about her dreams, plans for the future and passions.
This is the memoir of a truly remarkable woman who didn't let anyone hold her down and turned abuse into power.
Publisher: Gaudium; Illustrated edition (March 19, 2020)
Hardcover: 300 pages