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Review: In the Water They Can’t See You Cry

September 27, 2012

Amanda Beard is the youngest of three girls and was so full of energy and had such a need for perfection as a young child, her parents enrolled her in all kinds of activities just to keep her busy.  Since both of her older sisters were on a swim team, Amanda longed to be as well and her parents allowed her to as soon as she was old enough.  She excelled and before she knew it, was winning every race she entered.  Sensing she was getting bored, Amanda’s parents allowed her to move up to a more difficult league.  This was a whole new level of competition, but with her determination, Amanda quickly caught up to the other swimmers.  She started winning regularly and swam in her first Olympics at the age of fourteen, winning a silver medal.

Things weren’t that easy in Amanda’s personal life, though.  She suffered from a learning disability so school was tough.  Her parent’s divorce was difficult for her.  She struggled with poor self image and resorted to self-destructive behavior like cutting and purging.  She seemed to become involved in one unhealthy relationship after another.

After swimming on a college team for a few years, Amanda became a professional swimmer and started getting quite a few modeling jobs.  It was on one of those jobs that she met the man who would help her get her life in order and eventually become her husband.

I was interested in reading In The Water They Don’t See You Cry, by Amanda Beard, because I love memoirs and I couldn’t imagine what a beautiful, world-class athlete would have to cry about.  It seems that there was plenty.  The public saw a poised, polished image even as Amanda struggled with many demons and found herself in unhealthy relationships.

I felt for Amanda as she struggled with her internal demons, but really expected to learn more about her swimming and Olympic competitions – this book is really about her personal life and the poor choices she made through the years.  There were times I felt she went into too much detail about some things – it made me question whether she’s really lived enough to warrant a memoir, if you know what I mean.   It became harder and harder to empathize with her when she kept repeating the same mistakes.  It really bothered me that she felt that she needed a man in her life and looked for one to save her. I know that sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I did – I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it.   I think maybe young women who are struggling with the same issues Amanda has will get even more out of this book than I did.

I listened to the audio version of In the Water They Can’t See You Cry and read from the print version (which includes photos) at times.  Tavia Gilbert narrates the audio version and she does a great job – her narration enhanced the book for me.  This is the second book narrated by Gilbert that I’ve listened to and will definitely be looking for more of her work.

Review copies provided by Simon & Schuster and Tantor Audio.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2012 6:38 am

    The name seems familiar but I can’t remember which Olympics she swam in. I do know what you mean about having lived enough to write a memoir. It seems I’ve read a few in the past couple of years where that seems to be the case.

  2. September 27, 2012 6:45 am

    Funny I don’t recall her name, nor did I hear of this book. I did like reading your thoughts and it sounds like a decent memoir.

  3. September 27, 2012 7:48 am

    Sounds a tough memoir but a good one! I like that she triumphed over the odds.

  4. zibilee permalink
    September 27, 2012 11:13 am

    I also don’t get women who feel that they need a man to save them or be complete. It does sound like this memoir could be frustrating at times, and I can imagine that I might also feel annoyed that Amanda kept making the same mistakes over and over again. This was a very penetrating review. I enjoyed it a lot!

  5. talesofwhimsy permalink
    September 27, 2012 12:40 pm

    Great review. I like the striking cover.

  6. bookingmama permalink
    September 27, 2012 1:19 pm

    I appreciate your honestly in this review. I totally get what you mean!

  7. September 27, 2012 1:38 pm

    I don’t remember her for some reason, but the book sounds interesting. It’s hard for me to find audio books that I can enjoy because most of the narrators get on my nerves, I’ll have to check some narrated by Tavia Gilbert

  8. September 27, 2012 2:17 pm

    Thanks for the lovely review. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my narration! The complete listing of the audios I’ve narrated might spark your interest, help you find something else with which to spend listening time.

    Vicki, it may comfort you to know that I’m a listener, as well as a voice actor, and some narrators’ voices get on MY nerves from time to time! It’s so personal, isn’t it, the voice in your ear that tells you a story? Thankfully there are many wonderful narrators, just waiting to become a favorite!

    Happy listening!

  9. Patty permalink
    September 27, 2012 3:08 pm

    I love that you love memoirs…I discover these people through you!

  10. September 27, 2012 4:52 pm

    I love the title of this book. The mindset of needing a guy to save her does make me somewhat uncomfortable, though.

  11. swright9 permalink
    September 27, 2012 6:55 pm

    sounds like a rocky life; a perfectionist on the edge of self-destruction

  12. September 28, 2012 6:55 am

    Despite the parts that prevented you from totally empathizing with her, I might pick this up because it’d be a nice companion to the swimming book I reviewed earlier this week.

  13. September 28, 2012 10:04 am

    I read about her story in People or somewhere, and I think that was a better way to read about it than a whole book!

  14. September 28, 2012 5:15 pm

    I enjoy memoirs too and didn’t know this was one!

  15. September 30, 2012 9:41 am

    I like memoirs too but I do want to read about someone who has really lived a longer life and has more to contribute to their own story. Thanks for the awesome review!

  16. October 1, 2012 8:27 pm

    I think she’s probably lived a life worth writing about but isn’t writing so much about those parts!!!

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