Casey Legler. Atria, $25 (176p) ISBN 978-1-5011-3575-0
Olympic swimmer Legler’s intense memoir delves into her experience of depression and substance abuse. Legler tells of her nomadic childhood and adolescence, which spanned continents and countries, taking readers from her native France to Sweden, where she trained and competed, and then back to France, where she first began drinking as a 14-year-old hoping to escape the torturous rigors of swim practice. Legler writes, “My sigh resigns itself to the workout and, shoulders slumped, I turn around to face my lane and the water and the far-off wall at the other end of it. I try to hope that it’ll be one of those practices where my brain lifts out of my body and I can’t tell I’m swimming.” Legler succinctly captures her descent into alcohol and drug addiction: the incessant monotony of it, the cycles of escape and crash: “I sniff that magic up my nose and don’t go down for days and instead feel the weight of the empty ghost truck on idle settle in the middle of my chest.” For her senior year of high school, she moved to Miami, and then moved to Tucson, Ariz., for college in 1995, where she fell deeper into the pit of addiction while winning more medals. The raw effect of the prose lingers, as when Legler describes getting her period as “feeling the blood gulp out of me.” At age 19, she competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics where she placed 10th in the 4 × 100-meter relay; she eventually went into rehab, quit swimming in her early 20s, and now models. This is a raw story of teenage addiction, and it’s beautifully told. Agent: Bill Clegg, Clegg Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/10/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-5011-3576-7
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