Review by andrewslizzy43, Published April 2, 2020
I truly, truly loved this book. In her memoir, The Most Unlikely Champion, decorated sport shooter Vera Koo continues her trailblazing legacy with a story peppered with tidbits of wisdom and thoughtfully layered with observation, reflection, and gratitude. It is a relatively short book, under 200 pages, yet she manages to brilliantly detail the story of her life and career in a tone of quiet confidence while still maintaining sincerity and humbleness.
After a series of near-incidents led Vera to find herself inadequately prepared to handle a weapon, she enrolled in a gun safety course at the local college. Setting a goal to become the best female shooter – and eventually overall shooter – in her class, she began to practice at the local gun range and compete in small shooting matches. Over the years, her abilities steadily improved, and as she experienced trials and hardships in her life, she began to use shooting as a method of temporarily alleviating stress and distracting her mind. Her consistent practice paid off, and Vera made a name for herself in the sport shooting world as a legendary, record-shattering female shooter.
Koo excels at weaving biography and background with narrative and reflection. The events she has to relate, ranging from success to tragedy and everything in between, are emotional but told with perfect peace. Reading this book made me feel as though I were sitting in her living room, listening to her tell the stories of her family, obstacles, accomplishments, and everything in between. The tone is so comfortable and conversational that every time I began to read I was instantly and easily captured.
The element of this book that I liked most of all was the simplicity of language and clarity of style; these created a concise and beautiful book, easily understandable and immediately engaging. I did not find that I disliked any aspect of this book. Overall, I would rate it 4 out of 4 stars. This was an exceptional story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is not simply a book about guns and Koo’s journey through sport shooting; it is a remarkable description of grace and grit, showcasing her extraordinary ability to channel grief and anger into the creation of an epic career and the development of a kind, loving, openhearted character. There were no grammatical errors or typos, indicating consistent and excellent editing.
I believe this book has the potential to appeal to a wide range of audiences, high school and up – there are so many different, important takeaways that may be gleaned and applied, in addition to the general celebration of Koo’s resilience and achievement. The aspect of her character that quickly becomes especially apparent is her genuine, humble heart; Koo notes that she never goes into a match or competition with the intent of beating anyone; her main goal is always to surpass her own goals and achievements. I highly recommend this book.
Original review can be found here.