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Good Reads Review: No Apologies by Sharni Layton

** spoiler alert **

A beautiful debut memoir, this book is a no holes barred look at the world of sports women, mental health and the kick-arse life of Sharni Layton.

Sharni chronicles from the first moments she became obsessed with sport (and also the starting point for many of her mental health struggles that come later), to where she is now, going into huge detail about her experience playing all sorts of sports, before turning it into her career with netball and AFL.

Sharni doesn't spare on the details of the trials and rigorous nature of training to make it into the national netball team, and reading this gives you a real sense of the sheer difficulty in the life of being an athlete. Add to that the fear of failure that permeates that profession, and the using of that to fuel eventual success gives you a sense of just how much pressure rides on this environment, but also the constant expectation put on athletes.

However, the book really becomes emotionally powerful when Sharni goes into details around her experiences in 2017-18, when her mental health issues led to a severe downwards spiral in her anxiety. This section can be quite confronting at times as she comes to terms with her mental health, but is ultimately one of the most rewarding parts of the book. The small story of how she met her husband, Luke during this time is a particular highlight.

What is especially good is that this book feels more like Sharni is speaking directly to us. She writes exquisitely in a way that lives up to the title of the book. She tells it how it happened, and doesn't beat around the bush. What's even better is at the end of every chapter she apologises for small, specific moments in her life towards people close to her. This fills the book with character, and is a fantastic representation of Sharni the human, not just Sharni the sportsperson.

While this book is probably mostly tailored to sports fans and member of the 'Sharni Army', even a non-sports fan will likely get something out of this story. This is a beautiful memoir about one of Australia's most down-to-earth athletes, but its human story is what is most powerful of all.


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