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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story and an original telling., 31 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Swimming Studies (Hardcover)
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The dedication required by sportspeople to reach the top of their sport is well-documented, and swimming is a sport that demands more than most. Leanne Shapton got as far as the Canadian Olympic Trials -twice- and here she documents the long, long journey and the sacrifices that took her there, with reflections on what swimming means to her now.

Rather than a straight narrative, the book jumps around in a series of essays, including Leanne's early days in swimming, the sacrifices of her parents (particularly her mother), her relationships and marriage, and her feelings on being a recreational swimmer, flirting with the idea of competition.

Anyone who isn't interested in competitive sport will find this book less rewarding, anyone who does swim at anything approaching a serious level will find much to identify with. There are lengthy descriptions of swimming meets, pen portraits of fellow competitors, and a series of semi-abstract portraits of fellow swimmers.

All the illustrations in the book have a link with the title; all are swimming studies of some description, though I did wonder if the costumes on a mannequin were really essential. I was also slightly puzzled by their appearance - anyone who swims regularly knows that swimsuits quickly deteriorate, rotted by chlorine, but all these costumes looked pristine.

Leanne Shapton is a gifted, highly reflective writer and this often saves the day, as she is able to bring interest to what could be boring repetitious descriptions of hours in the pool , and engage us with what could otherwise be the somewhat colourless characters peopling her book. An original idea and executed well.
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

A. I. McCulloch
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Co Durham, U.K.

Top Reviewer Ranking: 218