Olympian and High-End Escort Speaks Out in "Fast Girl", by Suzy Favor Hamilton - Book Review

Fast Girl is a riveting story that I consumed in less than 24 hours. Suzy Favor Hamilton tells of how her obsessive personality and undiagnosed bipolar disorder led her from chasing medals in three different Olympics to becoming a high-end escort in Vegas making thousands of dollars a day. She carried on her escorting all the while being married with a small child – and with her husband’s begrudging consent.

Suzy tells of how her competitive nature and desire to win came young and how running became her outlet. On scholarship at Wisconsin, she ran for the Badgers through her college years and met her cute baseball playing husband, Mark. She continued running competitively after college, making a decent living between her sport and accompanying endorsement deals. But eventually her running career waned and she turned to real estate with her husband.

Life to Suzy became dull, both in her career and her marriage. In an effort to spice things up between them, Mark and Suzy took a trip to Vegas and hired an escort for a threesome. For Suzy, the game was on. After the threesome, she had a taste for sex outside of the marriage and wanted more of it. Mark said okay in an attempt to see her happy.

One thing led to another, and, after realizing she could make good money doing what she craved (having sex with strangers) she went to work for the same agency she and Mark had used for the threesome. She soon became one of the most sought after escorts in town.

Her tale is salacious and full of juicy details about the trysts she had. She writes about them in a way that seems almost reverent, which is strange since she alleges her behavior was a result of her undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

In the book, she starts every few chapters with an italicized page or two that takes the reader out of the story and into the details of the disease and how it affects one’s personality and behavior. Without these reminders, the reader might forget entirely about the medical condition.

Suzy ends the story with a two-page epilogue that briefly discusses her post-escort life. The year following her diagnosis, she writes, she relied on booze and Xanax to get her through the days. If all of her dangerous and outrageous behavior in Vegas was because of her disorder, her diagnosis, recovery and facing up to reality had to have been crushing. How did she go from having sex with a stranger for money on a golf course one weekend to living at home full time with her husband and small child in Wisconsin the next? And how did they as a couple and a family get through the devastation she had wreaked? There were too many unanswered questions.

In the end, I wanted more of an explanation of how her disease lead to a slow ratcheting up of risky behavior over months (if not years) of time. And I wanted to know how all of it was unraveled. Her brief apologies and assurances that her husband and their families have forgiven her felt empty. If you want a titillating story, read it. If you want an in depth look into the bipolar disorder, skip it.

Published: 2015
Publisher: Dey Street Books

Elizabeth's rating: 3 stars