on 29 August 2003
In this book Friedman tells us the stories of both her love and loss of her husband Paul and her love of swimming.
As a swimmer myself I first read the book out of an interest in another swimmer's experience and I was not disappointed with what I found. The descriptions of her relationship with the water, which actually only make up a small portion of the book, are so lovely as to have made me reconsider how I approach my hobby from both a practical and emotional viewpoint.
What you get both outside and intermingled with this theme is a beautiful and tragic personal account of a wonderful world turned inside-out. The way Friedman talks you through the whole story gives you the feeling that she's sitting right next to you. Sometimes you find yourself wishing that she were so that you could give her a hug and tell her you hope it's going to be okay. It's powerful stuff.
For me this book has a similar feel, in the way it is written rather than in subject matter, to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig, and I would recommend it, or either of them for that matter, to anyone.
on 22 May 2011
I think readers of this book will distinctly fit into two categories: those who get very involved with the author's very moving story, and those who don't get into it at all.
I was reading it while training for a Channel relay swim last year and although the book does talk about swimming, training, locations, etc., it's much more a story about love and loss, as it says.
on 14 November 2011
This book was chosen by the book club of which I am a member. I found her quite tedious and obsessed with herself. She never did swim the channel, and seemingly didnt enjoy swimming, particularly found the water much too cold. I wonder why she did it. She was quite OCD and why her husband put up with accompanying in the boat when he was so sick and so wet I suppose he did love her very much. By coincidence the book before that was selected by the book club was Waterlog by Roger Deakin which was lovely. I must say I hope I dont have to read any more watery books for a bit.
on 14 January 2012
I am a keen long distance swimmer, have swum Windermere in 2011 and bought this book in the hope that it would be about open water swimming and swimming the channel. The title is completely misleading. Three quarters of the book is about the loss of her husband and the grieving process that the author is going through. Whilst that is an absolute tragedy and I don't want to belittle what the author has gone through, to title this book as 'Swimming the channel' is completely misleading and unacceptable. If you want to be immersed into the world of bereavement and a grieving widow then this book will be up your street. If you want something on swimming the channel or open water swimming look elsewhere.