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Book Review: W. Hodding Carter's "Off the Deep End"

Posted Nov 03 2009 12:00am

Reminded by Tracy B , I decided to reread W. Hodding Carter's Off the deep end : the probably insane idea that I could swim my way through a midlife crisis-and qualify for the Olympics (Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008). Though not a technical book on swimming, Carter uses swimming as a tool to examine his oftentimes hilarious journey into adulthood; much like me, this is taking place in his 40's! His writing is really outstanding, and he is able to find both the sublime and the ridiculous in the sport of Master's Swimming.

The sublime: "I love swimming, the feel of the water swirling past my body, the different forces exerted on the palm of my hand as I stroke through the water, the gentleness of being buoyant."

The ridiculous: "Swimming was a sport for juveniles, not someone on the shortlist for a pair of Depends."

Really an enjoyable book, well-written, funny and poignant, a piece of writing that leaves you wanting more. Recommended.
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