Brittney Griner's Memoir: Testament To Personal Resilience, Russian Oppression Hits Bookshelves May 7

Zinger Key Points
  • Griner's memoir "Coming Home," a testament to resilience, is a poignant account of one woman's battle for survival and her eventual triumph.
  • The narrative spares no detail, painting a vivid picture of the oppressive conditions and the relentless fear that haunted her daily life.

Brittney Griner’s memoir “Coming Home,” co-authored with Michelle Burford, will hit the shelves on May 7, chronicling her traumatic journey through Russian imprisonment and her eventual return home after 10 months.

The narrative spares no detail, painting a vivid picture of the oppressive conditions and the relentless fear that haunted her daily life.

Griner’s writing, a lifelong refuge from adversity, unveils a deeply introspective individual. Griner, who even had pen pals while in prison, talks about being vulnerable since her youth, growing up with a tough father and a gentle mother, the combination of which made her resilient and eventually self-confident, especially on the basketball court.

In her memoir, she navigates the harrowing experiences she endured with a blend of raw emotion and therapeutic humor.

"Prison is more than a place. It's also a mindset. When I entered Corrective Colony No. 2 – or IK-2, in Mordovia, a region more than 300 miles east of Moscow — I flipped a switch in my head. ‘I'm an inmate now,’ I told myself. ‘I'll be here at least nine years.’ I even rehearsed my release date: Oct. 20, 2031,” Griner writes. “I knew that might change. Still, focusing on a goal would get me through the nightmare. As deeply as I cared for my wife Relle and my family, I had to seal off that love to some extent. I felt softness would compromise my toughness."

Having been arrested and sentenced to nine years for possessing a small amount of cannabis oil in her suitcase while entering Moscow to finish up her seventh season with a Russian team, Griner was released after 10 months in a prisoner swap for a Putin comrade Viktor Bout on Dec. 8, 2022.

Griner’s captivity in Russia, vividly captured within the margins of her Bible and Sudoku book, left an indelible mark on her psyche. Her grim expectation of enduring years in confinement is juxtaposed against fleeting moments of freedom, such as her description of a childhood memory of seeing white Bengal tigers at the zoo on a school trip when she wondered what they were thinking. She got a good idea during her own captivity, especially when she was being transported to and from court in a steel cage that was too small to hold her 6-foot-9-inch body.

“‘Coming Home’ begins in a land where my roots developed and is the diary of my heartaches and regrets,” Griner told ABC News. “But, ultimately, the book is also a story of how my family, my faith, and the support of millions who rallied for my rescue helped me endure a nightmare.”

In her acknowledgments, Griner extends gratitude to the Black women in the media who kept her story alive during her detainment, underscoring the importance of their advocacy. “Coming Home” stands as a testament to resilience, a poignant account of one woman’s battle for survival and her eventual triumph over adversity.

Photo: Courtesy of ESPN press room

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