Published: January 20, 2015
Format: copy via publisher
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
A debut, coming-of-age novel in which a teenage girl from Philadelphia leaves her old life behind to become The Sweetheart, one of America's most infamous female wrestlers. It's 1953 and seventeen-year-old Leonie Putzkammer is cartoonishly tall and curvaceous, destined to spend the rest of her life waiting tables and living with her widowed father, Franz, in their Philadelphia row house. Until the day legendary wrestling promoter Salvatore Costantini walks into the local diner and offers her the chance of a lifetime.
Leonie sets off for Florida to train at Joe Pospisil's School for Lady Grappling. There, she transforms into Gorgeous Gwen Davies, tag-team partner of legendary Screaming Mimi Hollander, and begins a romance with the soon-to-be Junior Heavyweight Champion Spider McGee. But when life as Gorgeous Gwen leaves her wanting, she orchestrates a move that will catapult her from heel to hero: she becomes The Sweetheart, a choice that attracts the fans she desires but complicates all of her relationships with Franz, Joe, Spider, Mimi (who becomes her fiercest competitor), and even with herself.
The Sweetheart caught me completely off guard…in a good way! I must admit I didn’t know if this book was my type but I vowed this year to span my literary horizon and after reading this I’m sure glad I did. While I’ve always been a fan of ‘resslin’ I honestly never really cared for women wrestling. However this story of Leonie was amusing and I loved the whole coming of age tale of a girl finding her passion and living her life. And while Leonie’s story is wonderful I also loved the supporting characters that are all wonderful in their own right. Although this books storyline is basically about wrestling it’s much more than that. It’s about friendship, love and ultimately finding who you are and whom you’re meant to be.