In this book review, published by Online Book Club, Joshua Gunawan notes that Vera Koo’s book “The Most Unlikely Champion” will be inspiring generations to come. Continue reading to find out why he thinks this, and rates Vera’s book 4 out of 4 stars.
The book The Most Unlikely Champion, written by Vera Koo with the help of Justin Pahl, is a celebration of Koo’s life not only as a veteran shooter, but also as a warrior in her own life. She has dealt with numerous problems throughout her long life, whether they are personal or professional. Vera has been knocked down numerous times in her life, but every time she falls, Vera always gets herself back up and keeps herself standing stronger than ever. Just shortly before her retirement from her career, Koo has proved to herself that she is no ordinary woman. Koo is a legendary fighter who strives to achieve the best results in her long career as a shooter, and a woman who never gives up despite numerous tragedies strike her.
This biography is exceptional due to several aspects. For one thing, she successfully catches her reader’s attention from the very start by beginning with one of the toughest tragedies she has ever suffered right before the most recent event takes place (“It was shocking, then, when I felt myself falling forward. Part of my boot caught on the rope. As I hit the cold, wet ground, I felt a searing pain shoot through my right leg.”, p. 4). From there, she moves on to tell her reader about many things related to that particular disaster, such as her husband’s betrayal by cheating on her twice (“When we reached our house, I showed him the two photos. At first, he claimed it was nothing. But I could see how shaken he was. I pushed the issue, certain he wasn’t telling me the truth.”, p. 73), her journey to find her true identity as a Chinese woman (“My grandparents sometimes teased me by saying, “Your name is not Fang,” which was my father’s name. I would get angry and shout back, “I am Fang!””, p. 14), and the loss of her first son (“While my family prepared to go to the hospital, I held Bryan, rocking him and singing. His breathing slowed and finally stopped. His skin turned blue, and I knew he had died.”, p. 43), among others. These collections of events are evidence that Vera Koo is a brave and resilient soldier throughout her life. The addition of the photographs depicting her personal and professional life as a shooter also makes this book more interesting to read as readers can imagine how tough it is to live as a Chinese-American woman who is often looked down on by other people.
Despite that, this book still has some room for improvement. For one thing, the flow of this book is a little confusing since it often moves back and forth between the past and the future. Though it is understandable that the author is using a mixed flow to tell the readers about her story, for some people, it is confusing, especially because the chapters are also not in chronological order. For example, the chapter “Baby Steps: Autumn 2013” (pp. 67-68) tells about her early stages of recovery after her horrible fall during shooting practice, while the next one, “A Devastating Discovery” (pp. 69-86), explains about Carlos’s first secret betrayal by cheating on another woman. Another thing is the photos. It is good to see some photographs, as the reviewer has mentioned above, but it would be better if they are arranged in chronological order as well so that it will be easier for the readers to understand the flow and the story more clearly.
Overall, the reviewer would rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. It is professionally edited, though it has some issues concerning the organization of the book. Thanks to Pahl, who has experience in writing books, mainly fiction, this book becomes one of the most well-edited ones on numerous bookshelves. Pahl, who is also a ghostwriter, plays a pivotal role in constructing and writing every word of Vera’s story carefully, and arranges her story into a natural, convincing testimony of Koo’s long battle during her professional career as a shooter. It is also a well-written book due to the fact that it does not have any grammatical or spelling errors in it, proving that Pahl is indeed an experienced and meticulous writer.
It is recommended for teenagers and young adults who are struggling with endless battles in their lives, whether in their personal or professional lives, especially during this raging pandemic. Thanks to COVID-19, many people see their future simply crushed in an instant, doubting whether they can take start over again. However, if Vera Koo can prove that she can still stand strong despite numerous downfalls, our generation should do the same. Vera is a perfect figure who will continue to inspire aspiring generations to come, especially our generation.
When my husband introduced me to Vera at the Bianchi cup banquet she looked at me saying, “We need more fair skin ladies like you shooting in the contest games.” Her statement gave me pause to agree, to forward think of the honor and potential I, s redhead, ten years her junior, could accomplish.
Vera encourages her audience.