Katie's Reviews > Swimming

Swimming by Nicola Keegan
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Aug 10, 11

Read in August, 2011

I wanted to rate this a "4" but I started liking it less towards the end. As Philomena (the lead character) got more mentally unstable, the text got more stream-of-consciousness-y and it started to lose my interest. I see where the author was going with that, but I just really wasn't following it as well (perhaps I refused to be dragged down into madness with her!) and I lost track of which parts were real and which were imaginary. That part started to seem like work and not pleasure reading.

BUT, I really enjoyed the first 90% of the book. Unlike other books, I feel like this book totally hinges on whether or not you "get" Philomena, the main character (the Olympic swimmer). If you don't, I don't see how you could like the book, because the whole thing sort of takes place inside her head and deep within her perspective.

Let me back up a bit--this is a book about Philomena's rise and fall as an amazingly successful Olympic swimmer. She has what one expects is the usual difficulty "letting go" after her best swimming days are behind her, except more extreme. Swimming is truly the only important thing in her life, and we learn a lot about her sad and semi-dysfunctional childhood and relationships. She's a lonely girl in a lonely world. But I really "got" her and liked being inside her head for most of it. I found her just completely straightforward, and her thoughts and emotions conveyed to the reader were very genuine and raw. She is vulnerable and tough at the same time.

I also thought the writing was fascinating for most of it... it was sort of dreamy and lyrical. I almost wonder if the author is also a poet, but I didn't see anything about that on her Amazon page (I think this is her first and only book so far).

Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit, but would be reluctant to recommend it to anyone because if you don't like Philomena, you won't like the book! However it might be a great book to read while the Summer Olympics are going on next year!
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