Monday, June 26, 2017

Turning: A Year in the Water by Jessica J. Lee

Title: Turning: A Year in the Water
Author: Jessica J. Lee
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Publishing Date: May 2, 2017
Rating:★★★★






Jessica, a native Canadian, moved to Berlin at the age of 28 to complete her thesis. Along with her work, she brought personal troubles that took a toll on her well being and outlook on life.
"Love was a lot like fear. It swallowed you whole, like water."
Turning: A Year in the Water is Jessica's story of how she turned her love of swimming into a source of motivation and healing.  The book opens with the list of lakes swum and maps of their locations. What follows is a beautifully written account of Jessica's journey of how she balanced her goal of swimming in these 52 lakes in Berlin while still continuing on with her work.

Throughout her journey, we get a glimpse into Jessica's past that has driven her to this point in her life. Her parents' divorce and struggles with her mother's mental illness was a start. As she got older, Jessica experimented with drugs, struggled with alcohol abuse and chose to have an abortion while in college. The emotional struggles continued as she finalized her own divorce.

The paths Jessica took to swim in the lakes contributed to her healing. In her travels she some times went with friends, but mostly traveled to these locations on her own. She allowed herself to be immersed in the culture and people that lived around the lakes. She began to find a new sense of purpose and belonging in Berlin. The new start that she was looking for.
"I think of what the lakes meant to me then and what they mean to me now. In the middle of the lake, I'm completely present. I'm no longer afraid to be alone. I've conditioned myself to the lake, to the cold, to the pain of it. I can hold it. I've made it mine."
Jessica's inspiring story is proof that overcoming obstacles, no matter how painful both physically and emotionally, are possible. Readers who have a love of swimming will enjoy this read. Jessica is very descriptive of her feelings while in the water and the ambiance of the lakes. Turning can also be appealing to those who have experienced or are experiencing the need for a fresh start. But, regardless of the reason for deciding to read this book, know that you will find comfort in her words and finish the book with a sense of empowerment and strength.


Disclaimer: I received a finished copy Turning: A year in the Water by Jessica J. Lee from Penguin Random House Canada for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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