Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

About the Book:
Author: Shawn Johnson
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Autobiography, General

There probably are not many of us who have not heard of the pint-sized, gold-medal-winning gymnast who won over the heart of America at the 2008 Olympic Games. If her name is not familiar from the sport she excels in, then you probably “met” her on the eighth season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (which she also won). 

This book is a journal of sorts that she has written for her fans about her life so far – her growth in maturity and her faith; the lessons life has taught her and getting back to the place where she is more happy – and healthy. It is rare that I read books in which the celebrity name emblazoned on the front shares their life story. My tastes seem more suited to fiction but I do not regret having read this book in the least. If you’ve followed this athlete, I’d wager that in reading this, you will learn a lot of things about Shawn you didn’t know. Some that may even surprise you.

Perhaps the most insightful parts of this book are Shawn’s profession about her family’s faith – their belief in God but infrequent church attendance. Within these pages, Shawn shares about her growing faith in a heartfelt way that makes the reader believe she enjoys nothing less than a daily walk with Him. Despite this, I found this a really hard read to get “into.” I was impressed with its easy writing style – Shawn is in fact, a poet (the style was simple with favorite quotes opening each chapter and 'lessons learned' to close) but it seemed I had to push myself to read more than a chapter or two at a time. That first 70-some pages were such a challenge because much of its focus is in gymnasts terms – the techniques they use and what makes a perfect performance – and although everything is explained, I found myself more confused than not. Given that, I was surprised that the last third of the novel went so quickly – before I knew it, I had basically read the rest of the book in one afternoon. And let me tell you, I enjoyed every minute of it.

To be honest had Tyndale (thanks!) not offered this novel, I am not sure I’d have read this in the foreseeable future. It was a joy to read, and to feel a renewed sense of excitement at the prospect to again root for Shawn at the upcoming summer Olympics. (Unfortunately – and ironically, just the day after I finished reading this, Shawn announced she wouldn’t be at the London Games to compete; her knee injury wouldn’t allow it.) 

In Winning Balance, Shawn shares everything from her struggles to maintain a healthy image, what it was like to be in Hollywood at DWTS (a section I particularly liked, of course) and its affect on her, the emotional support of her prince charming (a college football athlete), trials of the travel her engagements demanded and that at heart, she is a country girl from small-town Iowa. Anyone who followed her career, or likes a good read will find this book worth their time. Its ‘winning’ story makes it one fabulous read.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book.

Check out the trailer in which Shawn introduces her book: 


  1. cool book! ordering one soon! x i love your reviews! check my blog out? (:

  2. Oh sweet! I totally want this book. When I was little, I did gymnastics, and Shawn Johnson was my hero.

  3. So happy to see your review! :) And the fact that you put a picture of Ryan in there...I had totally wanted to see him after finishing the book! That is sad...I was totally excited to hear that she was going to try, but it is good that she doesn't push herself... I really liked this book and how it brought you closer to who she is as a person. And she is such a sweetie :) And I may or may not be totally jealous of her poetry skills... :/ Have a great day! Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Because You Are!) Philippians 4:8

  4. Katrina - it is definitely worth reading IMO. Enjoy!

    I actually do follow your blog - it is great fun! Thanks for stopping by and the invitation! :-)

    Brooke - oh, really? That is so cool. I did tumbling when I was little and really enjoyed it (or so I am told! LOL!) but because it was like, an hour away, my mom couldn't keep taking us. You'd really enjoy this book then, Brooke - it is sweet! So glad you stopped in.

    Sierra - yeah! I kind of panicked when I realized that I needed to have this read by the 5th or thereabouts. LOL! Fortunately, the latter part of the book went really fast and I was able to read it quickly. All's well that ends well.

    I thought the book was very insightful into her as a person and yes, I loved that too - she is a sweetie. You feel like she'd be just like that in person.

    The photo: I thought it was funny she didn't have a pic of Ryan in her book, so yeah, I liked the idea of adding one - they are cute together, right!? It is sad that we won't be able to root for Shawn this summer but good for her in realizing her limits. Nothing will ever change that she is a gold-medalist.

    Oh, that is right! I forgot you write poetry - they were lovely, weren't they!? Keep it up!

    SO glad you stopped in!

  5. Hi, Rissi! This sounds like an interesting book. Gymnasts have to have a lot of determination and courage.

    I agree that church attendance is not required for salvation, but it is dangerous to live isolated from fellow believers. I wish we had more home churches. These mega-churches that are becoming the thing to go to -- so impersonal, and nobody knows each other.

  6. I just might have to get this book! I loved Shawn in the Olympics and I am curious about her life and career. =) Thanks for cluing us in, Rissi!

  7. shawn johnson is the absolute cutest! i didn't even know wrote a book!!
    xo TJ

  8. Gwendolyn - it was a really fun, great read. I'd imagine it will give inspiration to many a future Olympic gymnast. Shawn seems like a sweet role model.

    You are right in saying that - church is important. I just don't feel that someone cannot enjoy a relationship with Christ if they don't have that. It is important though because it is easy to develop a pattern that is "comfortable" and we are then not held responsible. I agree with you about all these mega-churches. Mine is a small congregation and in a small town, which I really like.

    AnnaKate - I think you'd enjoy this one! It is a nice, easy read. If you followed her, then you should definitely read this one! :-)

    TJ - isn't she though!? I was sorry to read she wouldn't be back for 2012 but I am glad she decided against it if it puts her health in danger - that is more important. The book is really sweet; I'd probably not have noticed she wrote a book had I not been given opportunity to review it - or not for a while anyway! LOL!

    Juju - anyone who knew of Shawn should enjoy this one. I thought it was a darling read that really spoke of her growth. Definitely worth checking out! :-)

  9. I requested that work by this book. It looks like a fun read. I enjoyed watching her in the Olympics last go around....and was sad to learn that she won't be in London this year =(

  10. Hope you enjoy this one, Ella - I did! Will look forward to what you thought of it. :-)

    I know... her retirement was so sad - and ironic to read about. I wish her the best though and am glad she is considering her health over another medal. No matter what, she is a gold medalist!

  11. I've never heard of her, though I don't know how I could not have. I'm going to keep my eye out for this book.

  12. I really hope you enjoy this one! It was a great little book.

    Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)


Have a thought? Don't be shy, go ahead and leave one... or two... or three! I reply to every comment. If you're new to the blog, please don't hesitate to introduce yourself and your blog - we love chatting around here!

Feedback and every comment is appreciated and read - I always leave a response; your opinions are respected and I ask that you show mine the same courtesy.

(If you post under “anonymous,” please leave a name. If you don't have a Google account, you can type your name into the Name/URL and if you have no site, just leave "URL" blank.)

If you are still reading my ramblings, thank you for following this little blog and for being one of its supporters. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of you, friends!

Latest Instagrams

© Finding Wonderland. Design by FCD.