One of my favorite clients and authors, Vera Koo, has published her second book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her first book, the memoir “The Most Unlikely Champion,” and looked forward to getting my hands on a copy of her second book.
Getting to Know Vera Koo
Vera Koo is an intelligent, driven and hugely successful champion pistol shooter. She’s won eight National Women’s titles at Bianchi Cup, and the list of her accolades doesn’t stop there. (Follow this link to read more about her achievements while in the shooting sports.) Vera is a wife, mother and grandmother. She also has a great sense of humor, as evidenced through her writings in her memoir.
Knowing these qualities about Vera, I was excited to dig in and read “Wisdom and Things.” I know that she has a lot of great ideas about the world, and I was curious to find out what she qualified as “things.”
Getting to Know ‘Wisdom and Things’
Vera’s second book is a collection of blog posts, most of them originally published at “Women’s Outdoor News.” She’s included pictures from her life and competitions, which really help bring color to her memories and experiences.
The book itself is divided into four parts:
- Becoming a Champion
- Get Knocked Down? Get Up Stronger
- A Little Religion. A Little Philosophy. A Little Introspection.
- Lessons From Travel
All four sections include a mixture of Vera’s wisdom and things.
I’ve compiled a few of my favorite “wisdoms” from Vera’s second book. These excerpts are listed below the chapter in which they are written.
Why You Should Surround Yourself with Inspiring People
That day reminded me that surrounding yourself with inspiring people is powerful. The attitudes of those are you rub off on you, so you best rub shoulders with people who will positively effect you.
How Shooting Saved My Life
There is a negative stigma in my culture – and in other cultures, too – about seeking professional help for struggles that one might face. But I am a living testament to the positive power therapy can have when you face a crisis that is too much to handle on your own. I saw a therapist for two years while I navigated my crisis. If I had an emergency, I could call her any day of the week, and she would see me right away. I consider myself fortunate that I had the good sense to realize I needed. Help My therapist helped me come through my crisis faster, healthier and more whole I addition to the therapy sessions, I made prayer a regular part of my life.
And, a little humor:
Welcome the Chance to Expand Your Horizons
Before the play, I loaded a bag of Life Savers into my purse. I figured if I got drowsy, the sweet treats would save me. The candies were a fun snack, but they weren’t what kept me engaged. Glenda Jackson did.
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts of the “things.”
Sports Teach Us Values and Perspective
My dad says that hunting is not just shooting, Annika (Vera’s granddaughter) wrote. It is important to know how to take care of the animal after I shoot it. He taught me how to gut the deer and prepare it to be taken to the butcher. The process was really gross, and it was really cold, so I was trying to hurry, but it was a good learning experience for me.
The Power of Women Supporting Women
The point is, women deserve options. They deserve to be taken seriously. They deserve to have instructors who treat them with respect and teach them in a welcoming manner. They deserve to have equipment options that suit them. They deserve to have gunsmiths who can help them with their gun needs.
A little more humor from Vera:
Seize the Moment and Don’t Hold Back
“What would you rather do?” Carlos (Vera’s husband) asked. “Continue with the sport, or come back and babysit and learn how to cook?” When he put it that way it seemed like an obvious choice. I do not enjoy cooking.
Vera’s second book exceeded my expectations in every way. I appreciate how she ordered her stories; this order makes the overall read flow easily from one page to the next. Even though some entries are not listed chronologically, they all relate to and build on one-another.
As mentioned, I love Vera’s inclusion of photos from her life and sport. They added layers and dimension to her written words. I found myself searching her family photos, trying to understand the dynamic and history as it was being told to me in the text. I wiped tears from my cheeks as I looked over the images of Vera’s lost son, Bryan. In the opposite measure, I was able to easily read the joy in the moments that Vera shared, when telling about her experiences traveling, shooting and being with her family.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Vera’s chapter titled ‘Don’t Miss Your “Some Day.”‘
I wrote a book so I could share the wisdom I have gained in this life – not only as a competitive shooter but as an immigrant woman who endured personal hardships and had to learn how to keep going. I wanted people to know that it is OK to feel pain and to be broken. It is how you handle that adversity that determines the direction of your life. My story is one of love, betrayal, faith and forgiveness. Those are relatable themes, and I hope my story shows readers that they are not alone in whatever hardships they might experience.
We can all relate to Vera Koo, and have a lot of good things to learn from her.
Purchase your copy of “Wisdom and Things” online, here.
This review was originally published at “Women’s Outdoor News.” See it here.