On Top of Glass: My Stories as a Queer Girl in Figure Skating by Karina Manta


On Top of Glass: My Stories as a Queer Girl in Figure Skating by Karina Manta. Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. 9780593308462

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover 

Genre: Biography/memoir

What did you like about the book?  Karina Manta’s biography of her figure skating career is a love letter to self care and constant self discovery. Karina was a quiet child, but from the first time she tried ice skating, she fell in love. She tried singles skating for a few years, but soon transitioned to doubles ice dancing. When she moved to train at an elite skating facility in Colorado far from her home in Arizona, problems with disordered eating intensified. She writes honestly about the ways in which her eating disorder was exacerbated by her skating career and her struggle to break free from that pressure. The bulk of the book is concerned with her struggle to understand her own sexuality and make sense of it in the highly gendered world of partners ice skating. I love the way she explained the process she went through to decide on the word that described her own sexuality and the way that the word bisexual helped her feel more connected to herself. Her skating career is detailed in the book, but this memoir is about much more than just being an ice skater. 

This is a beautifully written memoir about an athlete with an uncommon gift for reflection. Karina Manta speaks clearly to her readers about the ways in which they should care for themselves while reading her book; she even goes so far as to say that if her eating disorder triggers readers that they should put the book down and move on. Her journey to understanding, accepting, and proudly proclaiming her own sexuality is lovingly told and will be inspirational for many readers.

Anything you did not like about the book? There is content about her eating disorder; she has a short chapter in the middle of the book that acts as a trigger warning, but it would have been better placed at the front of the book.

To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like queer memoirs will love this book!

Who should buy this book? All public, middle, and high school libraries. She does briefly mention drinking, but it is very minimal. 

Where would you shelve it?  Biography

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date of review: January 19, 2022

This entry was posted in *Book Review, Biography, Eating disorders, Ice skating, LGBTQIA+, Memoir, Mental Health, Sports and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.