A London dozen books: Moceanu keeps us off balance

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The book: “Off Balance: A Memoir”

The author: Dominique Moceanu, with Paul and Teri Williams

The publishing info: Touchstone/Simon and Shuster, 242 pages, $24.95

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble

The background: She lives these days with her husband and two children in Cleveland, 18 years after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta where, as a 14-year old, she was on the U.S. gold-medal winning team.

“When you have traveled the world, won Olympic gold, and gone through a very public court battle against your parents all by the age of seventeen, surprises don’t come easily. Discovering my sister Jennifer though – that was a surprise,” from Chapter 1, paragraph one, describing how she received a letter revealing a sister she didn’t know she had, given away at birth because she had no legs.

“As a competitive gymnast, my life has always been filled with challenges that would ultimately define my future. From day one, I was taught to be prepared at all costs. And yet, pulling into the post office parking lot that day, I couldn’t have been more unarmed, unguarded.”

Her Romanian immigrant parents went to the U.S. to provide her with a better life. Except they hadn’t told her everything about a sister, both six years and one day apart from her.

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