Three star review, originally posted here on September 11, 2017.
Well look, it’s not exactly Shakespeare. But it’s not really supposed to be. Instead it’s an honest story, complete with an honest, innocent tone. While the title suggests this is the story of the “first woman to…”, that’s not really what this story is about. It’s the story of a sweet adorable “everything’s coming up Millhouse” high school superstar who learns just how fucked up life can be when she leaves for the real world. It’s a lesson way too many young people, particularly young girls, wind up learning. It’s tragic and jacked up and, infuriatingly, all too common. I’ve spent a lot of time being “the only girl” in various settings, and being the unwanted player on a good team, and while I’ve thankfully never had to experience the degree of what Hnida went through, I could easily identify with lots of the smaller frustrations that still add up. I also saw a lot of my friends and acquaintances on the more tragic pages: athletes who were expected to perform the morning after their rape, college girls whose lives came crashing down just as they were supposed to be getting started, kids too ashamed to tell their beloved parents what had happened to them. Hnida’s story is everyone’s story placed under the microscope of fame, and this tragedy is apparent right in the (incomplete) title; Hnida would like to just be known as someone who kicks a football (the same way all of us want to be known for what we do well), but instead she’s really known as “the girl who tried kicking a football but got all embroiled in some college scandal and kicked poorly and blamed it on the coach and a rape that may or may not have happened and now we’re supposed to celebrate her for like 2 ok kicks in some school nobody’s ever heard of and anyway this is why girls shouldn’t be playing football. Also she used to be hotter.”
Quick easy read, completely and tragically unsurprising, but worth checking out because these stories need to be heard by everyone as often as it takes until shit like this doesn’t happen anymore.