Read Life As I Know It by Michelle Payne John Harms Online


The extraordinary story of the first female jockey to win the Melbourne CupMichelle Payne rode into history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She and her 100-to-1 local horse Prince of Penzance took the international racing world by surprise, but hers was no overnight success story. Michelle was first put on a horse aged four. At five years old her dreamThe extraordinary story of the first female jockey to win the Melbourne CupMichelle Payne rode into history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She and her 100-to-1 local horse Prince of Penzance took the international racing world by surprise, but hers was no overnight success story. Michelle was first put on a horse aged four. At five years old her dream was to ride in the Melbourne Cup and win it. By seven she was doing track work. All of the ten Payne children learned to ride racehorses but Michelle has stayed the distance. She has ridden the miles, done the dawn training, fallen badly and each time got back on the horse. So when she declared that anyone who said women couldn't compete in the industry could 'get stuffed', the nation stood up and cheered.Michelle has the audacity to believe she can succeed against all the odds. Her story is about hope triumphing over adversity, and how resilience and character made a winner....

Title : Life As I Know It
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780522870145
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 560 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Life As I Know It Reviews

  • PattyMacDotComma
    2019-05-16 22:05

    4★Whether you saw the 2015 Melbourne Cup or not, if you’re an Aussie, you can’t possibly have missed the media coverage of the pretty, delightful Michelle Payne who rode the winner in what felt like a movie. I say “pretty, delightful” because that’s what people probably noticed. Many of us didn’t know who she was, except she was the only female rider in the Cup race. And next we noticed her best mate, Stevie, the Payne family’s Little Boy to her Little Girl. Stevie has Downs Syndrome and was one of Prince of Penzance’s strappers. Win-win! The family is full of jockeys and trainers, but her dad said the Little Girl might beat the lot of them. And Stevie drew Barrier One for the race. Even a scriptwriter wouldn’t dare add that! She didn’t get there by accident, but by guts and determination. Her whole family is involved in horses and racing, and this book will have special meaning for anyone in or around this challenging business. As kids, they worked hard with all the horses and on the family dairy farm near Ballarat. A kid at school asked the teacher why the Paynes could get away with being late, and she said “Well, the whole family’s done half a day’s work before your alarm’s gone off.”Read this book, and find out what made her who she is: a Swiss-born mum and an Irish dad who had 8 kids in New Zealand before they moved the family to Australia and had 3 more. She’s got the fierce determination of another famous Swiss sports star, Roger Federer (whom she quotes as saying “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice”, a motto she has taken to heart. But she also has the look-on-the-bright-side perspective of her Irish father who always reminds her after a bad race “At least you got to pack your bags and come home.” How Paddy maintained this outlook and kept the family together is a story in itself. Michelle’s mum died in a car crash when Michelle was only 6 months old, so her 11-year old sister did the night feeds, while the older sisters (15 and 16), who were already out of school and apprenticed to Paddy, took over the mother duties. Big family, small house, lots of work, not enough beds.Many times over the last ten years, Michelle wasn’t able to pack her bags and come home. She had dreadful falls, two completely freakish ones where the horses just fell and flung her forward for no apparent reason—torpedoed into the turf, the news reports said. She suffered from a badly shaken brain to the point that she lost a grasp on reality. The only thing she could talk about coherently was horses and riding. The doctor reckoned it was because that was so deeply ingrained in her. As I write this (June 2016), Michelle is recovering after what some say could be a career-ending fall at Mildura. she stresses throughout the book:- “Racing is dangerous. There is no point dressing it up, or trying to suggest otherwise … - If a galloping horse falls on you, you cop the full force of that energy …- Horses are flight animals, which can make them erratic, and a panicked racehorse, however well trained, will be too strong for any rider … - As dramatic as it may sound, when jockeys leave the mounting yard they know that they might not come back.”Mostly, she didn’t remember anything about the falls that did all the damage. She has broken vertebrae, ribs, had lengthy recovery times, but never thought of quitting. She has nothing but praise and gratitude for the help she received. “We talk about sportspeople being heroic, but it’s those who work in medicine and other caring professions who deserve the most praise. I just ride a horse around in circles.”There’s a lot more to it than riding around in circles. We read about the starvation and dehydration to hit the weigh-in target. Riders compete hungry, thirsty, dizzy – no glamour here. A lot of the story revolves around her dad, sisters, brothers, her friends from Loreto (Catholic school), and the day-to-day. She went with friends to work with African orphans, a life-changing trip that saw her continue to support people there. She realised how lucky she was, doing what she loved. Her losing her mother, working so hard, sleeping so little, was nothing in comparison.John Harms has done a wonderful job of working with Michelle to tell her story in the first person in her voice. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Melbourne University Publishing for a copy for review.- - - - UPDATE 1 Nov 2016 Brother-in-law Kerrin McEvoy (married to her sister Cathy, baby due imminently) has just today won his second Melbourne Cup, 16 years after the first one. A record! And after more surgery, she's still in the saddle, too. What a family, eh?

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2019-04-20 18:10

    ‘I used to tell people, ‘I just want to win the Melbourne Cup.’On 3 November 2015, Michelle Payne (aged 30) became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. Michelle rode a local horse, Prince of Penzance, an outsider with odds of 100 to 1. Michelle’s win may have taken the international racing world by surprise, but Michelle had spent most of her life working towards this win.Michelle Payne was six months old, the youngest of eleven children, when her mother Mary died. Her father, Paddy Payne raised his family, with the older children pitching in to help. As a family, they managed a dairy farm and racehorses as well as home and attending school. As a family, every one pitched in. At the age of 5, Michelle’s dream was to win the Melbourne Cup. By the age of 7 she was doing track work. Michelle was 15 when she first raced. She won her first race in Ballarat, on a horse trained by her father. She won her first Group One Race in October 2009. Michelle was the third female jockey to ride in the Caulfield Cup, and also had a ride in the 2009 Melbourne Cup.Over her career, Michelle has had a number of bad falls resulting in dreadful injuries, and has worked hard to recover and get back on the horse. In this book, written with John Harms, Michelle writes of her life as the youngest of a large family, of the challenges of being a jockey, of the opportunities she had and the difficulties she faced. It’s an uplifting story: the story of a resilient young woman, part of a close-knit family, determined to succeed. And who, amongst us, who saw the Melbourne Cup race in 2015 can forget the elation of Michelle and her brother, Stevie, when Prince of Penzance won? Or Michelle’s declaration that anyone who said women couldn’t compete with men in the racing industry ‘could get stuffed’?Michelle’s story is about resilience, about believing in yourself, about remaining positive in the face of adversity. It’s also a story about a family working together to support each other.‘I finally got a chance to ring Dad, too. ‘How’d you go?’ he asks. ‘Well, I got to pack my bags and come home,’ I say. He laughs.’I enjoyed reading this book, learning more about Michelle Payne, her family, and her drive to succeed. I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, or simply wanting to read a heart-warming story of triumph over adversity.Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Melbourne University Publishing for providing me with a free electronic copy of this memoir for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  • Saturday's Child
    2019-05-13 02:15

    I'm not into horse racing however I wanted to read Michelle's story as she is a successful young jockey and such a positive person. She has written about speaking to students at Loreto College "I hope they take something from Prince's win, from my story - something simple as being passionate, having a dream and giving life a real go". Anyone who reads this book certainly will.

  • Helen McKenna
    2019-05-13 02:14

    I will freely admit I am not remotely interested in horse racing, but having heard snippets of Michelle Payne's story after she won The Melbourne Cup, I was very interested in reading Life As I Know It. The youngest of eleven children, Michelle was just six months old when her mother was tragically killed in a car accident. Yet with the love of her large family, she speaks of a happy childhood and an early start in the business of horse racing.The Payne family is a true facing family, with their father making his living as trainer. All the children were involved in the care of the horses, learning the ropes as soon as they were old enough to undertake the myriad of tasks involved. Along with her next in age brother Stevie, who has Down Syndrome, Michelle spent her early years in and around the stables, but it wasn't all work. There was plenty of time for play too and Michelle speaks fondly of her childhood, even though an outside observer might see it as unusual or even tough upbringing.The right build for a jockey, Michelle's determination for success saw her achieve many goals along the road to Melbourne Cup glory. Her story is an interesting window into the racing industry and you understand that jockeys must truly love the sport and the horses they ride as the lifestyle is not an easy one. From the constant need to keep her weight down to the ever present danger of serious race falls, Michelle battled through extraordinary obstacles to achieve her dream. What I found the most horrifying was the injuries she has suffered over the years, including many serious head knocks. The fact that she came back so many times from extensive injuries and continued to ride is quite amazing.What I liked most about this book was the upbeat and positive tone. Some could look at Michelle's life and consider her unlucky to have lost her mother so young and a sister not too many years later. Yet she does not dwell on these tragedies, focusing instead on going forward in life and celebrating the experience of life in a large family. Her love and respect for her brother Stevie is inspiring and her general outlook on life proves that attitude really is everything.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-14 23:07

    I must admit that I don't know much about horse racing, but seeing Michelle Payne win the Melbourne Cup (not to mention that emotional speech she gave directly afterwards), late last year made me want to find out more about this inspirational woman.I borrowed Life As I Know It as an ebook through my local library, and read it within a couple of days. It is an easy read, and is suitable for young and old.The story begins with Michelle's early childhood years, and you get a real sense of the importance of family. This remains throughout the whole story. The memories she shares about precious family moments like Christmas are told with love and humour.One of eleven children, growing up on a rural property, Michelle has dreams of riding a Melbourne Cup winner from age 5.We learn about Michelle's passion for horses, and her dedication for horse riding is incredible. Many of her siblings are involved in horse racing as well, her brother Stevie, who has Down's Syndrome, was the strapper for Prince Of Penzance - the horse Michelle rode in the Melbourne Cup.It was lovely to read how supportive her family are, and the close bond she shares with them all.After reading the book, I am even more of a fan of Michelle's, because even though she has faced a lot of hard times, including gruelling diets and exercise programs to remain fit and at the weight needed for horse riding, as well as many injuries, she has handled it so well and defied all the odds. It's a really great feel-good story.

  • Pat
    2019-04-29 21:05

    Enjoyed reading about her family life, obviously close knit family but still give it to each other. Very simplistic reading but interesting insight into what goes into racing for jockeys. Sad that she is currently injured again at the moment but hopefully she makes her way back after recuperating, but she has achieved the highest accolade a jockey can have by winning the Melbourne cup so maybe it is time to retire and take care of herself.

  • Sonya Heaney
    2019-05-06 01:55

    Will finish later, when I have time on my trip. This is a pretty simple book (in the writing style) that people will read for the person rather than the quality.

  • Zed
    2019-05-01 20:00

    It's so interesting to read the behind the scenes story of Michelle Payne's journey to the 2015 Melbourne Cup, a great Australian sporting moment.Her personality shines through in the writing and she gives wonderful insight into horse racing and being a jockey so it was good to learn something new, and my interest was kept throughout. After reading about all the trials she had to go through, her racing falls and comebacks (not to mention Prince of Penzance's injuries and comebacks) and the way everything seemed to come together after that and fall into place, it does seem as though the win was meant to be!It's a truly inspirational read about family, determination, belief, and triumphing over the odds!*I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways*

  • Neil
    2019-05-04 21:06

    I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.Not coming from Australia I knew nothing about Michelle Payne.This turned out to be a brilliant read, a real page turner.Absolutely fascinating.

  • Allison Potter
    2019-04-23 02:15


  • Bonnie
    2019-05-01 22:57

    Wow what a brave and inspirational story...well done Michelle Payne- you are a bloody legend.

  • Andrew Hall
    2019-05-17 00:58

    I enjoyed the book, though there was a lot of repetition in it. Inspiring story of someone who will forever be the first.

  • Judy Baxt
    2019-04-30 01:54

    I really enjoyed this book.

  • Martha Brindley
    2019-04-24 20:00

    I am not a fan of horse racing but a lover of horses. This is a very good read for racing fans and a great story of believing in yourself. Even if not a racing fan, a very worthwhile book to read. Michelle Payne is an inspiration to young people of how to succeed and make your dream come true. Many thanks to Net Galley for my copy.

  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    2019-05-10 00:06

    Life As I Know It is the remarkable story of the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, Michelle Payne. At just 30 years old, this inspirational and determined young woman was able to achieve her lifelong dream of winning Australia’s most prestigious sporting event. Michelle Payne has worked in collaboration with writer and broadcaster John Harms to impart her very personal rise to sporting success.Michelle’s memoir immediately takes the reader into her confidence. Life As I Know It begins with Michelle‘s family origins and explains how the Payne family has had a long held connection to horses and racing. The memoir also goes into Michelle’s schooling, her family’s faith, her training and significant events/people who shaped who she is today. What became apparent while reading Michelle’s memoir is her strength in the face of adversity. Michelle Payne has faced many hurdles in her life, some from an early age. She tragically lost her mother in an accident at just six months old, which left her father a single parent to ten children. Michelle also had a number of debilitating horse riding accidents that almost lead to her retirement from the horse riding game. Payne also speaks frankly about how hard it is to be a professional senior female jockey in a sport that is male dominated. Equally, I was astounded by the sheer grit and determination that goes into becoming an elite jockey. The drastic diets and intense fitness regimes are so gruelling it is hard to fathom what Michelle went through to attain success. The most enjoyable part of this novel is the detailed account of the events leading up to and the day of the Melbourne Cup. I did feel like I was racing with Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance at Flemington, it made for an exhilarating read. Life As I Know It is a memoir that is written to inspire, build positivity and demonstrates the strength of the human spirit.Life As I Know It features a glimpse into the world of elite horse racing through the eyes of an expert, the momentous Michelle Payne. Even if you only have a passing interest in the world of horse racing, it is easy to appreciate the story behind the legend, Michelle Payne.I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Melbourne University Press/Goodreads via a giveaway.

  • Sasha
    2019-05-07 23:09

    This bio of Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne is very easy reading. It is a glimpse into the world of horse racing that even someone with no prior knowledge of racing can understand. Michelle's close knit and large family are all involved in racing and it would have been surprising if she had not gone into the industry. Though given the injuries she sustained at various points I am not sure if she was driven or just a bit suicidal. But props to her, she (literally) got back in the saddle and made it to her goal. This is a feel good memoir - in spite of several sad points and one that would be suitable even for younger readers (no sex / drugs / swearing / etc).There is a lot to like here but this is not an earth shattering - attitude altering memoir. It is a nice story, about a nice woman from a nice, perfectly normal family, working hard over years to reach a goal many people will never achieve. She makes sure to mention that any winner of a cup is a combination of horse, trainer, owners, rider and circumstance and a good bit of luck.

  • Christine Lussier
    2019-05-08 01:47

    I received a digital copy of Life As I Know It, from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I had never heard of Michelle Payne, nor did I know anything about racing in other countries outside of the US (& whatever Walter Farley had written in the Black Stallion series!). Michelle pursues life as a female jockey, the life she has grown up in & knows & loves. As the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup it was very interesting to read about her life story.Michelle did not have life handed to her on a silver platter, has endured more than her share of heartbreak & injury, yet goes on, day after day, with a wonderful attitude. The book is filled with just the right amount of information on her family, day to day life, & races. For those not familiar with racing, the book is not filled with information that the reader would not understand.A nice read that left me wanting to follow her career from now on.

  • Bill
    2019-04-30 20:08

    This is a great feel-good story, and as many have said, Hollywood couldn't have come up with a better ending. Well-written by John Harms, in collaboration with the remarkable Michelle Payne, it follows the life of a battling jockey who overcame incredible odds to be the first woman to ride the winner of the Melbourne Cup. As Michelle said in her post Cup interview, racing is a chauvinistic sport. Yet, she got past any bias against her gender, as well as surviving several horrific and life-threatening falls during her career.Racings fans will enjoy this, but so too will those who love an uplifting story. By the end of it I felt I knew Michelle, and I liked her very much. My hope is that she makes good on a promise she made to retire if she won the Cup, so she'll never again face the prospect of being severely hurt in a race fall.

  • Michele Mason
    2019-04-21 00:59

    With a back story out of central casting, this is a wonderful read. Sporting biographies can be a let down as the actions of the subject don't translate well into words. But this book really conveys the thrill and hard grind of life in horse racing. Michelle Payne is a very worthy role model to young women in racing, but also to anyone in how to live your life. Even if you don't follow horse racing, this is a delightful book. It isn't often that a winner of a big event brings more than just a victory - this was a story that shows that the very core of horse racing is the love, dedication and sheer hard work of individuals like Michelle Payne and Darren Weir.

  • Roxy
    2019-05-07 19:05

    Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for gifting me a copy of this book.Life as I Know it by Michelle Payne is a lovely read that gifts the reader with an insight not only into the race that stops a nation, but also into the childhood and early career of this remarkable young lady. I like that it is written in a conversational tone. There is no flowery speech, its not overly verbose. It is written almost as though she is just having a chat with you, which makes it a very accessible read. Full of family stories and a handful of photographs this is an interesting and light memoir that maintains a readers interest til the last page.

  • Nicole
    2019-04-25 01:15

    It was lovely to get the real story behind Michelle Payne's remarkable Melbourne Cup win in 2015. I appreciated the fact that she didn't make such a big deal out of being a female jockey - she was just a jockey. Likewise in any reference to her brother and strapper, Stevie, she focused on their relationship, not his downs syndrome disability. Lots of horse racing industry details I skimmed looking for the human story. What a fabulous family.

  • Ruth Clarke
    2019-05-13 19:12

    I received a copy of this book from the Publisher. While not being the sort of book I would normally read, I did really enjoy this book.It has warmth and humor and was easy to read. There were many interesting insights into a life I know nothing about - that of horse racing. The story of Michelle and even of Prince of Penzance is remarkable; many odds were overcome. The love of family, friends and the horses themselves really shone through.

  • Larissa
    2019-04-30 19:12

    I listened to the audiobook of this autobiography and loved it. I probably would have understood more if I was a racing fan, but the fascination of Michelle's life was still there. I loved her stories about growing up, her brother Stevie and the many many many years of work she put in for a few minutes of glory! Narrator Pia Miranda was awesome - so glad it was read by an Aussie.

  • Annie Preston
    2019-05-13 23:15

    Really enjoyed this, only thing, if you're not REALLY into the world of horse racing, there's a lot of names and other things listed in certain parts. However, this is her passion, and her story. Highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in Michelle Payne, winner of the 2015 Melbourne Cup, and first female jockey to win :)

  • Nancy
    2019-05-09 23:09

    Another Australian legend who's story I would never have read but for trying to complete a library Summer Reading Challenge. Glad I did even though I have zero interest in horse racing and skipped over some of the details of rides/trainers etc. it is another wonderful, very Australian story of family love, a burning passion and a fairy tale ending.

  • Sally
    2019-05-10 20:02

    I really enjoyed this book, really well written and written in a way the lay man can understand the racing terminology. It was a beautiful story about Michelle's family and her life to date and what an amazing life culminating in a well deserved Melbourne cup win!

  • Debbie Williams
    2019-05-11 20:52

    If you love horse racing this book will really appeal.

  • Lyn
    2019-05-05 02:09

    This is the story of an Inspirational woman who knew at 5 years old what she wanted to do. Despite many setbacks, and tragedies of life, she did exactly that! We should all be as brave as Michelle!

  • Trish
    2019-05-01 20:51

    Loved it. What a great family. What a great role model Michelle is. What a great story.

  • Carmel
    2019-04-29 01:14

    3.5 -4. I wasn't interested in the small details about racing industry. I loved hearing about Michelle and her relationships with people and horses.