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The Bone Cage txt The Bone Cage , text ebook The Bone Cage , adobe reader The Bone Cage , chapter 2 The Bone Cage , The Bone Cage 214661 Digger, An Kilo Wrestler, And Sadie, A Year Old Speed Swimmer, Stand On The Verge Of Realizing Every Athlete S Dream Winning A Gold Medal At The Olympics Both Athletes Are Nearing The End Of Their Athletic Careers, And Are Forced To Confront The Question What Happens To Athletes When Their Bodies Are Too Old And Injured To Compete The Blossoming Relationship Between Digger And Sadie Is Tested In The All Important Months Leading Up To The Olympics, As Intense Training Schedules, Divided Loyalties, And Unpredicted Obstacles Take Their Draining Toll The Olympics, As Both Of Them Are Painfully Aware, Will Be The Realization Or The End Of A Life S Dream The Bone Cage Captures The Physicality, Sensuality, And Euphoric Highs Of Amateur Sport, And The Darker, Cruel Side Of Sport Programs That Wear Athletes Down And Spit Them Out At The End Of Their Bloom With Realism And Humour, Author Angie Abdou Captures Athletes On The Brink Of That Transition The Lead Up To That Looming Redefinition Of Self And Explores How People Deal With The Loss Of Their Dream


About the Author: Angie Abdou

Angie Abdou was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan She received an Honours B.A in English from the University of Regina, an M.A from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D from the University of Calgary She now teaches at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, British Columbia She makes her home in Fernie, British Columbia with her husband and two young children She has pub Angie Abdou was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan She received an Honours B.A in English from the University of Regina, an M.A from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D from the University of Calgary She now teaches at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, British Columbia She makes her home in Fernie, British Columbia with her husband and two young children She has published three books Anything Boys Can Do a collection of short stories about dysfunctional relationships , The Bone Cage a novel about the relationship between the body and identity , and The Canterbury Trail a dark comedy about mountain culture The Bone Cage was a finalist for Canada Reads 2011 The Canterbury Trail was a finalist for Banff Mountain Book of the Year and won a 2012 IPPY, Gold Medal for Canada West



10 thoughts on “The Bone Cage

  1. says:

    There s a difference between fact and truth, and fact doesn t matter in fiction writing, but truth does Abdou writes something along that line in her acknowledgements, and it s clear how well that method works in this story of two Olympic hopefuls training in Calgary for the 2000 Sydney Olympics These are fictional characters, but felt so true to read about Every smell, sight, and sensation is described, making it so easy to believe in and empathize with Sadie and Digger and all they go throu There s a difference between fact and truth, and fact doesn t matter in fiction writing, but truth does Abdou writes something along that line in her acknowledgements, and it s clear how well that method works in this story of two Olympic hopefuls training in Calgary for the 2000 Sydney Olympics These are fictional characters, but felt so true to read about Every smell, sight, and sensation is described, making it so easy to believe in and empathize with Sadie and Digger and all they go through Sometimes third person narration can t move me I just don t connect to the characters or whatever Not the case with The Bone Cage It s a wonder Even the supporting characters, like parents and fellow athletes, are perfectly fleshed out And, seriously, the play by play descriptions of the wrestling match and the CBC documentary are dead on perfect I can t say anything else, except that I m so glad Canada Reads brought this book to my attention


  2. says:

    All I knew about The Bone Cage, when I picked it up, was that it had something to do with Olympic swimming How surprised I was to find, in those pages, vivid memories of my own past brought to life, with stunning realism, and characters who embodied both the glory and tragedy of sport The beauty of The Bone Cage is its deceptive simplicity This is the story of two aspiring Olympic athletes, Sadie and Digger, facing the end of their competitive journey One last chance to try for Olympic gold, All I knew about The Bone Cage, when I picked it up, was that it had something to do with Olympic swimming How surprised I was to find, in those pages, vivid memories of my own past brought to life, with stunning realism, and characters who embodied both the glory and tragedy of sport The beauty of The Bone Cage is its deceptive simplicity This is the story of two aspiring Olympic athletes, Sadie and Digger, facing the end of their competitive journey One last chance to try for Olympic gold, one last kick at the can Taken on that level, the story is straightforward, though with some tension inducing plot twists The protagonists are underdogs and it s hard not to cheer for them.Take a step back, however, and you see that this is the story of us all In our youth, we race forward, eyes on the future, filled with possibility Then, one day, we wake up and must confront our limitations, our mortality, the painful realization that we might not even come close to reaching our dreams Face to face with that eternal question, What does it all mean , how we choose to deal with that defines us.Abdou recreates the daily life of these elite athletes perfectly I found myself laughing aloud at Sadie s omnipresent chlorine scent, having dated a competitive swimmer for several years I admit I may be biased by my own experience with physical training but the small details of these characters routines captivated me When you train and compete at this level, your world narrows, and Abdou captures this wonderfully with Digger s small, tightly knit band of fellow wrestlers and the tiny constellation of friends in Sadie s world Add to that dynamic, the sad fact that victory and defeat often arrive hand in hand among these friends, and you get a complex mix of pathos and camaraderie.Success and failure, glory and obscurity, strength and weakness, The Bone Cage explores the polarities of an athlete s life with compassion and insight I tore through this novel and cried buckets at the end Always the sign of a job well done Kudos to Angie Abdou and I can hardly wait to dig into her latest, The Canterbury Trail


  3. says:

    I only knew about this book through Canada Reads, and this is the third one I ve read, with The Complete Essex County and The Best Laid Plans to go Having heard the radio debates before reading this, I did keep in mind that this didn t get a very positive reception from the judges, but after reading it, that is a disappointment because like Georges Laraque said, this is quite an accessible book And although by the end of the week that word did seem to carry a negative connotation, I don t mean I only knew about this book through Canada Reads, and this is the third one I ve read, with The Complete Essex County and The Best Laid Plans to go Having heard the radio debates before reading this, I did keep in mind that this didn t get a very positive reception from the judges, but after reading it, that is a disappointment because like Georges Laraque said, this is quite an accessible book And although by the end of the week that word did seem to carry a negative connotation, I don t mean to say that the writing is too simple or the book is dumbed down for the masses, but that the story is relatable because it talks about the process of working towards a life s dream and the disappointment that is always lurking beneath it all I suppose this was always the choice to take out of the race, along with the graphic novel, but both deserved better.This story centers around Digger Tom Stapleton , who is a wrestler preparing himself to make the Olympic trials for the 2000 Sydney Games, and Sadie, a swimmer who is doing just the same Their stories do not intersect at all to start off with, which is all well because the peripheral characters that make up the support system for these two are worth getting to know their coaches, fellow trainees and confidants, parents, etc Fly, Digger s friend, was easily my character for the humour he brought to whatever situation he happened to be in I am about as far from an Olympian as you can be, and I still enjoyed this story very much I was looking forward to Sadie s story because I do enjoy swimming, albeit for leisure, but Digger s training was just as gritty and real at some points it was like a chess match, his mind furiously going through the moves he could use to gain points and take down his opponent The descriptions for the sports never do get tiring for me, I could nearly smell the chlorine from the pool, sense the constant pressure to keep shaving time off from their swims, sweat dripping from the athletes as they grind through their practices.I m not sure how long this book will stay in the public s conscience even the Vancouver Games are fading fast from our memories but it is a worthy read It s not often I care about both protagonists all too often the prose will be wonderful to read but the fates of the characters don t seem to be foremost on my mind Not with these two I cared about Sadie and Digger s journeys, and whether or not they ll finally make it to the Olympics to give it their all I d definitely recommend this book Angie Abdou has an almost methodical prose, in a complimentary sense, because the pacing ticks along and there s never a boring moment The story moves Some chapters are written with a near short story flourish because she compacts everything so smartly within the boundaries, but strung together, it makes quite a visceral read


  4. says:

    Holy moly Angie Adbou should have a spot in every Canadian s bookshelf She had me at page one the hopes, fears, routines and dreams of these characters were my own I finished the last line, shut the book and said out loud THAT is a novel Angie, I m in awe Thank you.


  5. says:

    Having just read Trevor Cole s Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life and come to the shocking conclusion that I might be just as self absorbed as Norman, I am, nevertheless, going to begin this review in just such a way.I am a woman of a certain age, as women of a certain age are apt to say, but despite that I still harbour what some might say is an unrealistic notion that I will yet compete in the Olympics.My siblings would not find this notion odd or unrealistic in any way, even as they Having just read Trevor Cole s Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life and come to the shocking conclusion that I might be just as self absorbed as Norman, I am, nevertheless, going to begin this review in just such a way.I am a woman of a certain age, as women of a certain age are apt to say, but despite that I still harbour what some might say is an unrealistic notion that I will yet compete in the Olympics.My siblings would not find this notion odd or unrealistic in any way, even as they too attain an age of certain ness That s because starting from early childhood we ve all been quite confident that we could run, walk, swim, jump, throw, cycle, skate, row, ski, fight or play fast enough, far enough, high enough and well enough to get into the Olympics if we wanted to We know this because we competed in our own Olympics every summer and have the medals to prove it Of course in addition to the regular Olympic events such as the 100 metre dash and the long jump, we added ring toss because our Dad was good at it and promised that who ever beat him would get a Dairy Queen chocolate malted milkshake on the next trip to town and we added stick races in the roadside ditch for our baby brother because everyone should have a chance for at least one medal.And we trained daily, both purposely as when my brother and I worked up a sweat and sunstroke by each taking an oar in our wooden barge of a rowboat and rowing as hard as we could in an effort to create a wake and waves sufficiently large to make it to shore and despite ourselves as when we road our bikes as hard as we could to make it up the townhall hill without dismounting just because to get off would be so feeb My siblings and I were are blessed with good genes We re healthy, mean and lean as indeed, are all of our children We are all fiercely competitive Yet none of us have been to the Olympics or even tried to get there despite the belief that we could and even still will and none of us have entered into any serious formal training to that end Why I wonder It is not for lack of talent Nor was it for want of opportunity Nor was it a case of lack of discipline So what is the difference between me, my siblings, and every other reasonably talented athlete out there and the Olympian I approached Angie Abdou s book with the hope that I d find the answer to that question.Meet Digger Thomas Stapleton , a wrestler in his early thirties and Sadie Jorgenson, a twenty six year old swimmer, each about to realize a life long dream of competing in the Olympics Both have qualified to represent Calgary as the Calgary media is quick to say and Canada in the 2000 Bejing Olympics Both realize this is likely to be their last chance for the big show and both are anxious not to let this opportunity slip away.My first thought about this situation was, Twenty six and thirty Cripes, when I was that age I was spending time at a skating rink, yes every day, starting at 5 30 a.m But not for me No, I was there watching my own young Olympic hopefuls twirl around the ice I had looking back on it anyway a marvelously full life a husband, two children, an education, a job, three meals a day to shop for and prepare, umpteen loads of laundry, friends and relatives to visit and entertain, songs to sing and open roads to travel Who would choose a life like Sadie s living in one s parents home with each day, after day, after day, unfolding in the same way, swim, eat, work, eat, sleep, eat, weights, eat, swim, eat, sleep Sadie does it because since she was fourteen she believed or had instilled in her she has the burning desire to be a champion Digger, because wrestling was the right sport for his body Um, there must beto Digger s story Why else When I think about the dream that my brothers and sisters and I had to be in the Olympics, a dream that we all still crazily have, I think the difference is that it is just one of many dreams It is not the be all and end all It does not define us We did have the burning desire to beat each other We did have the burning desire to beat the person in the blocks beside us We did not have the all consuming desire to be champion of the world or to allow the pursuit of that to interfere with our other dreams or to define who we were.Sadie and Digger intrigued me I worried about them I can t say I loved them I suspect, because no love was being reflected back at me I don t think they were really capable of loving anyone, not themselves, each other or anyone They didn t have time for that it was conditioned out of them They did sometimes feel guilty about being selfish, but as Digger put it, the Olympic motto is swifter, higher, stronger it does not include kinder I worried about the them because I wanted them to keep the kinder Yet I saw them losing that human quality, Digger in particular when he erupts in anger far too often, even going so far as to slug his best friend yet Fly accepts that and when he avoids contact with Sadie yet Sadie accepts that They were, as would be Olympic athletes, becoming less than human like machines, like animals And, the author provides us with lots of fuel to make that comparison.I found it interesting that they dated and hung around only with each other, much like police officers do, because nobody but other Olympian wanna bes could understand what they go through But their relationships were tenuous at best They were, after all, in competition with each other Katie was being groomed for Sadie s spot in the same way that Sadie was for Lucinda s.I have no doubt that Sadie was fond of her Grandmother That relationship was a good one grandchild grandparent relationships frequently are And yet even so, Sadie felt the need to legitimize herself to even her grandma who I doubt required anything of the sort by winning a medal.Even by the end of the story I remained worried for Sadie and Digger and wondered if there really was any hope for a normal loving relationship between them after the big show Or was it true, as Sadie quotes Mark Tewksbury as saying, The Olympics leaves its athletes broken souls For all my worrying though the book was pure pleasure to read, a fully immersing experience I could see, hear, feel,and smell this book It is, as I ve read the author say somewhere, a sweaty book I was reminded,than once, of the first time in high school I had walked into the boy s gym and experienced the pungent eye stinging stench of male sweat I remember thinking then, Good grief Do they never take their gym clothes home to be washed and I often wrinkled my nose while reading the wrestling scenes in this book Abdou s description of a wrestling match was superb I could see and hear the grunts and squeaks and the grappling and bodies slapping on the mats as if I were present in the arena It was fast paced and exciting.I could feel how Sadie s body craved the water, much in the same way a smoker craves the next cigarette I could hear the rush of water past her ears and, almost as if I was doing it myself, I could feel the feet over head, feet over head, feet over head somersaults of her entry into the pool For all that immersion in the life of an athlete though I have no desire to hit the gym or the pool I do, however, have the burning desire to challenge my Dad to a game of ring toss I have the burning desire for a chocolate malted milkshake


  6. says:

    Libraries, like most stores, usually have a row of temptations close by the check out It is here that even those who have managed to be disciplined whilst browsing for the items on their list, sometimes succumb So I plucked this book from the shelf, the Canada Reads certificate on the cover giving me some kind of endorsement to add to my pile which now exceeded my self imposed limit of 6 books per visit.The cover itself is lovely, an undulating blue revealing a swimmer underwater, and the titl Libraries, like most stores, usually have a row of temptations close by the check out It is here that even those who have managed to be disciplined whilst browsing for the items on their list, sometimes succumb So I plucked this book from the shelf, the Canada Reads certificate on the cover giving me some kind of endorsement to add to my pile which now exceeded my self imposed limit of 6 books per visit.The cover itself is lovely, an undulating blue revealing a swimmer underwater, and the title resonated with one of my favorite books this year.so there I was, unpacking my acquisitions to place on the shelf I reserve for library books I opened it for the first time What had I done This was a tale of Olympic aspirants Not my cup of tea When the games were held in my town, I was part of a coalition formed to oppose the negative effects that event catalyzed the displacement of the elderly and vulnerable from their homes, the residential hotels that were gentrified for Olympic tourists, the extravagant Olympic village, the disruption of traffic and regular commerce etc Needless to say I boycotted the event So this book about jocks training for an event I disapproved of was the perfect thing to practice what I am learning about aversion and compassion Even so, If the book had been poorly written, I m not sure I would have carried on But in fact the characters were actuallylively than the POV that each represented the winner, the loser, the one who never really had much of a chance So even though the world of competitive sport is still a bit repugnant to me, I feel I did gain heapsunderstanding of that world The issues raised here are relevant and actually pertinent in ageneral way the writing is skillfull A lot of attention is given the visceral, and I could smell the trace of chlorine and funky towels wafting from the pages Ugh I still don t understand how anyone could bear to dedicate their life to sport, and the discipline required is incomprehensible to me thanks to this modest book, I will not need to sneer at those who have dedicated themselves to its pursuit


  7. says:

    I chased the Olympic Dream when I was younger and really, l now, in reading this book, realized how mildly I did so The characters in this book are all working to prepare for the Olympics and struggling with training injuries, family crises and the rest Yet, the book is not melodramatic The problems the athletes face are not over the top and they don t solve all of them, either Good luck at the Olympics, Digger.


  8. says:

    I loved this book I read it last year and it still resonates with me, particularly right now during the Olympics I love the way you smell the pool and feel the pain and sweat of the athletes during training all because Abdou writes so sensuously Pick this quick read up if you haven t already read it.


  9. says:

    I found this such an interesting look at the lives of these two athletes their goals, daily schedules, relationships with their families, and how they see themselves and are seen by others I agree with L that there is a lot to talk about with the ending.


  10. says:

    Every so many years the Olympics rolls around and we cheer on our athletes, moaning when they don t perform to expectations, celebrating their successes And when the games are over we return to our lives and, for the most part, don t think about those athletes until the next round of competition We all love the hard luck story, the competitor who overcomes incredible odds to compete and even win But we really don t have any idea of what it actually takes to compete at that level.Angie Abdou g Every so many years the Olympics rolls around and we cheer on our athletes, moaning when they don t perform to expectations, celebrating their successes And when the games are over we return to our lives and, for the most part, don t think about those athletes until the next round of competition We all love the hard luck story, the competitor who overcomes incredible odds to compete and even win But we really don t have any idea of what it actually takes to compete at that level.Angie Abdou gives us two Olympic level competitors one a swimmer, the other a wrestler They are both late in their careers, and have both qualified for the 2000 Olympics We follow their training in the run up to those games We see the discipline, the dedication, the boredom, the commitment that is an athlete s life We also meet their families, their coaches and team mates and see what the Olympic quest asks of all of them Both athletes compete in singular sports one swims, the other wrestles no skates, bikes, kayaks, volleyballs, no team sports Their bodies are their instruments and Abdou creates the world of the body the aches and pains, the exhilaration, the sounds the smells the sensations These athletes live in a world of sensation, one that Abdou helps us feel.Whatever the physical talent, high level athletic competition is a mental game and Abdou shows us the mind set of these competitors.I really enjoyed a peek into this world, and my respect for these competitors, for their talent, their discipline and commitment is increased


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