Skip to content

Review: Find a Way

  • by

Cover of Find a WayIn Find a Way, Diana Nyad passionately tells the story of how she worked toward her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida. She first attempted the journey in her twenties, after becoming a world champion long-distance swimmer, but was blown off course, ending the swim. It was three decades before she revisited her dream and, after facing the challenges of rigorous training, dangerous jellyfish, and strong currents, finally emerged on the sands of Key West. This memoir is the story of her spirit and determination and the teamwork that made her dream possible.

Sport memoir is definitely not in my wheelhouse. It actually might be the farthest thing from it. Aside from the Olympics, I rarely pay attention to sports and before hearing Diana Nyad speak at Book Expo America, I didn’t even know about long distance open water swimming.

So why did I pick up this book?

Diana Nyad.

She was one of the most engaging speakers I’ve ever seen. She owned the stage, telling her story with confidence and captivating me from the moment she started explaining what her name means (and how fitting it is for her sport of choice).

So pick up the book I did, and I must say, it is quite a book.

It opens with her about to start her 2011 attempt at the Cuba swim. She captures the energy and hope immediately, drawing you in and making you root for her. When she starts describing the conditions, especially her first encounter with the deadly (I’m not exaggerating) box jellyfish, the only thing I could think was “Wow, this woman is BADASS.” She gets stung multiple times and keeps swimming. Through burning pain and restricted breathing, she keeps going. How crazy is that?

Even getting back into the water after such an experience would be an accomplishment in my books, but she didn’t just do that. She continued to pursue the Cuba swim, working with experts to find a way to combat the dangers of nighttime swimming in the Florida straits.

Aside from all the details of her swim – the training required, the team she assemble – Nyad describes her childhood and teen years and the challenges she faced during these times, include an abusive father and repeated sexual assault. She doesn’t shy away from laying bare the darkness in her life, but does so in a way that shows that they can be overcome in time. Her willingness to find the positive and forgive and accept the faults of others is just as inspiring as her physical triumphs.

Another inspiring part of this story is the fondness with which Nyad describes the team that made her dream possible. Even though swimming seems like a solitary sport (often including sensory deprivation), Nyad makes certain to mention the people who were continually by her side and those that gave their time even if they didn’t finish the journey with her.

She finally completed the swim on September 2, 2013 and this book made me truly wish that I had been aware of it while it was happening. It must have been a thrill to be a part of, even if just as a spectator.

Final verdictFind a Way is a story of passion and determination that I was entirely captivated by. It’s about so much more that just sport and is sure to inspire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: