• Wonder Girl

  • The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias
  • By: Don Van Natta Jr.
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Texas girl Babe Didrikson never tried a sport too tough and never met a hurdle too high. Despite attempts to keep women from competing, Babe achieved All-American status in basketball and won gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics. Then, Babe attempted to conquer golf. One of the founders of the LPGA, Babe won more consecutive tournaments than any golfer in history.

At the height of her fame, she was diagnosed with cancer. Babe would then take her most daring step of all: go public and try to win again with the hope of inspiring the world. A rollicking saga, stretching across the first half of the 20th century, Wonder Girl is as fresh, heartfelt, and graceful as Babe herself.

©2011 Don Van Natta Jr. (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC

Critic Reviews

"[Don Van Natta Jr.] spirits the reader away on this fairy-tale story with grace and humor.... Enormously inspiring." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"[An] engaging biography.... a story that every American sports fan should relish." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Wonder Girl

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great read

She lived at a time before me but I can see how how amazing she was and how she paved the way for women’s sports as we know it today. Wish I could thank her.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

awesome book!!!

Incredible book. I learned a lot about this pioneering female golfer, co-founder of the LPGA and advocate for cancer awareness in the 1950's when many refused to even say the word "cancer." Oh... and she won 2 gold and 1 silver I track and field in the 1932 Olympics, and so much more.

To me --- her ethos was a blend of Mohamad Ali's ego (coupled with the ability to back up) and Jim Thorpe's multi-sport athletic abilities along with her own mix of being a 2nd generation American who grew up poor in East Texas (which meant she also had more than a bit of baggage on issues like race and class, some good some bad).

And there is the issue of sexual orientation in her life, due to the extreme homophobia of her day she was not open about it, but today it appears clear that she was bisexual, something that this book discusses to the extent possible given the scanty historic record. Still it was helpful to see how she found ways to make her life work at this difficult time in history .

She died way too young from cancer, in her 40's, but her life is one that should be remembered.

I highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story - the accent is ridiculous!

Recently played golf at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Tampa Bay. Wanted to learn more about her than what I had recalled in grammar school, so I downloaded this audiobook. The content is wonderful. The performance of the audiobook reader is downright ridiculous. You can listen to interviews of Babe on YouTube, she certainly had a Texas drawl, but she didn’t have this exaggerated “country hick” accent. I wish the performer had done more research and had not taking it so far. She has a great voice and inflections when simply reading, but when she’s quoting Babe, it’s downright silly, and I don’t think does justice to the legend. I have to take a couple stars off for that. Another star off because this audiobook detail has no links to the photos included in the book.

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Good story, mediocre performance

Is there anything you would change about this book?

No. It was a well researched thorough biography and not just a puff piece.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Wonder Girl?

As a child, Babe lived in a row of houses separated by hedges. The image of her learning to hurdle by running through the front yards and clearing seven hedges while her sister ran on the sidewalk was wonderful.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader should have listened to tapes of Babe speaking. Then I would not have had to listen to the cheesy drawl she forced upon the Babe. And, the reader should have learned how to pronounce the names of places and persons in the book. For example, her father was a Norwegian named Ole. He was not a Mexican cheer or a soap brand (Oil of Olay.)