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Summary

The former middle-distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition but also in life. This is a heartbreakingly honest yet hopeful memoir reminiscent of Manic, Electroboy, and An Unquiet Mind.

During the 1990s three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports-apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a dark truth: manic depression and bipolar disorder that drove her obsession to perform and win. For years after leaving the track, Suzy wrestled with her condition as well as the loss of a close friend, conflicted feelings about motherhood and her marriage, and lingering shame about her athletic career. After a misdiagnosis and a recommendation for medication that only exacerbated her mania and made her hypersexual, Suzy embarked on a new path and assumed a new identity. Fueled by a newfound confidence, a feeling of strength, and independence and a desire she couldn't tamp down, she became a high-priced escort in Las Vegas, working as "Kelly".

But Suzy could not keep her double life a secret forever. When it was eventually exposed, it sent her into a reckless suicidal period where the only option seemed out. Finally, with the help of her devoted husband, Suzy got the proper medical help she needed. In this startling, frank memoir, she recounts the journey to outrun her demons, revealing how a woman used to physically controlling her body learned to come to terms with her unstable mind.

©2015 Suzy Favor Hamilton (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Strange mixture

Mixture of potntially fascinating insight into highl level competition, bi polar and the life of an escort and truly tedious details of everyday life. The writing isn't that great but I think the bland narration which gives no indication oh the highs the writer says she felt made it worse. The prologue and epilogue are read by suzy hamilton and it might have been better if she had read the whole book as she sounds more animated. H

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What a bizarre story. Very interesting.

Sometimes hard to process the lack of remorse, even as somebody with a bipolar parent.

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  • Julia
  • 03-08-17

Accurate Explanation of Bi-Polar Disorder

Suzy Favor Hamilton bares her soul on her mission to educate us on the symptoms of bi-polar disorder. The best word to describe this memoir is 'honest'. She does not get into the drama of the Las Vegas lifestyle. She tends to give us the facts in great detail.

A real page turner. I listened to this in one day as I was sitting on the edge of my seat getting impatient waiting for the next thing to happen.

Other than what I have seen on the TV I know very little about the life of a high paid escort. 'Fast Girl' definitely gave me an education.

The explanation and detail of symptoms and onset of bi-polar is incredibly accurate. A must read for someone who is either a sufferer or knows someone who is.

Nan McNamara gives a good, solid performance.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie Young
  • 26-02-16

Wisconsin girl

Being from Wisconsin and knowing of Suzy over the years with her running ability and then about her being an escort it intrigued me to read/listen to this book to see why. Sad to find out that all along she had bipolar disease and I am sure that is why she never went anywhere in the Olympics...such as shame. Hope she can help a lot of people with her story. Couldn't turn the book off wanted to keep listening to see what was next. A must read book or listen.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas J Clementi
  • 11-01-16

Sad Story

If you could sum up Fast Girl in three words, what would they be?

I was interested throughout but I was turned off by the author. Yes, she was an amazing athlete, but the nature of her behavior was so arrogant and self serving. I feel sorry for her family, especially her husband. After I realized I contributed to this family's bottom line by buying this book it made me a little sick. I am glad I got it on one of those 4.95 specials, lol

Would you be willing to try another book from Suzy Favor Hamilton? Why or why not?

no

What about Suzy Favor Hamilton and Nan McNamara ’s performance did you like?

Great narration and voice

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Mahar
  • 30-03-16

A brave story

Suzy shows much bravery in telling her story. Good luck w everything. Pulling for you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Allison
  • 03-05-16

Brave, Powerful & Compelling

Well written and inspiring, Suzy Favor Hamilton shares her story in a way that makes you want to listen non stop.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Claudia
  • 12-01-16

It was ok. Story not what I expected

Story not what I expected. It started out great and then lost its appeal for me.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucky father
  • 02-01-16

The hidden agony of an athlete



An excellent narration of the untreated anxiety, its effect on the performance
Of a professional runner, challenges with a family member with bipolar disorder, how lack of boundaries In a relationship can eventually make it uncontrollable, the effect
Of possible poor judgment or cognitive deficit related to mental illness which contributed to on risk taking behaviors.

I do not consider her story a typical bipolar disorder.
I would prefer the book unquiet
Mind to better illustrate bipolar disorder. Typically the patients with manic episodes may have a distinct episode of hypersexuality, but not a continuous one.

Ideally she should have stopped her real state job, public activities , motivational speaker position, grants, contracts, and acting like a role model for the youth before making a decision to go to the escort life. That might have saved her and family to some extent.

Unfortunately, in her culture, escorts are not respected and it was clear that she could not have continued the double life.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rich
  • 07-10-15

The height of narcissism.

Biographies have always been a favorite of mine Even if I'm not particularly interested in the subject. This one is well written and the narrator was very good.

Unless you are reading something about Jesus, there will be self-serving vanity in every biography whether self written or not. This one goes way beyond that.

Suzy was an outstanding runner even if not a Olympic medalist. That part of the book I found interesting and wished there had been more discussion and insight to that aspect of her life. After all that is what she was famous for before all this, and that is the reason we would even bother reading about her.

Most people who suffer from mental illness do not become prostitutes. I know from experience that no matter how bad the illness or the symptoms of that illness we still have a choice. While I don't want a long discussion of mental illness, what seemed abundantly clear is that Suzy somehow failed to grow up. Yes, we would all like to experience again those first time highs we had in our teens and twenties but the reality is we cannot. Or we cannot without it quickly becoming destruction. She made a big deal of her bipolar diagnosis, yet she also states near the end of the book that exercise is now her drug of choice. So with five psychiatrist/psychologist and many others she now has exercise as her drug of choice.

There is a lot of talk of shame and guilt in this book but neither has been answered, only forgotten and replaced. Her time as a prostitute seems to still be the best part of her life, she writes with enthusiasm about that part of her life. That only works for a while too. Bottom line on this book is that I do not ever wish to meet Suzy Favor Hamilton or her husband. It all seems the height of narcissism and the result of never realizing there are things high and better than self.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 25-09-15

Felt Like and Infomercial for Prostitution

What did you like best about Fast Girl? What did you like least?

I bought the book to read about her running career, and I was curious about what happened afterward. She was a fantastic runner, and I enjoyed the little she wrote about running the most.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The reality is that this story is not over, so there was no ending. Her battle with mental illness is ongoing.

What else would you have wanted to know about Suzy Favor Hamilton’s life?

I would love to have read more about her running career.

Any additional comments?

The section of the book on her life as a prostitute was rather off-putting. Even with perspective she showed no regret. Let me rephrase that, she did have one regret...getting caught. If she was not famous, she would undoubtedly still be working as a prostitute. She repeatedly called her time as a prostitute as the greatest of her life. By blaming it on metal illness she has absolved herself of all responsibility for her actions and looks back them with such fondness, I would not be surprised if she returned to that life.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tommy S.
  • 31-01-16

Worst Book Ever Written

worst book I've ever read. everything was sugar-coated and made to make the reader feel sorry for the author. PLEASE! save a few hours of your life and do not read this!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful