Top positive review
An awe-inspiring read
on February 11, 2002
Sara Hall has transcended the memoir genre with this inspirational account of the emotional and physical pain she underwent in order to evolve into a fully-integrated human being --and also,along the way, become the World's Masters Champion in the woman's single shell, one of the most demanding sports in the world. Marital abuse comes in many forms, and in Hall's case, the years of verbal disparagement and icy indifference left no physical scars - but the mental damage to her psyche was profound. The day that turned her life around was the day she glimpsed a figure racing along the water in a rowing shell and, like Paul on the road to Damascus, she was forever changed. What followed was the grueling effort (often surreptitious as well, as her husband did not approve of any activity of hers not related to the house or the children)to become proficient in an extremely demanding sport. That she was 44 at the time did not deter her. That she had to sneak out of the house in the pre-dawn hours to practice, without coach or companion, did not deter her. She knew in her heart and soul and gut that she wanted to do this, and to do it well. As she gained confidence in her abilities, she also found herself strong enough to break away from the suffocating circumstances of her personal life. Both her athletic skills and her growing self-confidence have been achieved at great cost.
The physical agony of turning oneself into a champion in any sport has rarely been described as well as this. It makes one realize that most of us will never have that defining moment experienced by Hall, and we certainly don't have the mental stamina and will power to arrive at the point where she now finds herself. Her writing is lyrical, tough, funny, and very honest. If she decides to leave the world of rowing, she has a bright literary future.