What I’m Reading Wednesday

1 Apr

TheBoysintheBoatSometimes I come across a book I wish would never end. And sometimes the story is so compelling, I wish it were a true story. I found both traits in Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat.

Based on the University of Washington rowing team and their quest for Olympic gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, The Boys is more than a sports biography. It’s a compelling narrative that goes beyond surface descriptions of the nine Americans who made up the boat. It delves into the almost unimaginable personal tales of the boys who endured the Great Depression, and at times insurmountable odds, to be a part of something historical.

I tend to favor the fiction genre, but when I come across a work of non-fiction such as The Boys, I am always in awe at the amount of research the author did to obtain the historical and personal nuggets of their subject. Brown takes you inside the mind of the boys, on board their shell, the Husky Clipper, battling fatigue, rough waters and competition. This book became one of my favorites before I even reached the Author’s Notes.

I can see why Pierce County Library System selected The Boys for the 2015 Pierce County READS (one-community, one-book program). I only wish I hadn’t waited so long after hearing so many positive reviews before giving it a chance myself.

Even if you’re not a fan of sports, the personal stories alone are enough to pull in a reader. Brown weaves the story of the boys, the coaches, and the historical WWII German figures in his book.

I knew how the story would end. But yet, I could not wait to be in that boat with the boys in Germany. To see how they battled through an epic race, joined together as brothers, to bring home the gold.

Every four years during the Olympics I am often weepy watching high-caliber athletes reach the very top of their sport, often times overcoming crazy odds. This was no exception.

Thank you, Mr. Brown, for breathing such life into the boat’s story, and sharing it with the state and the world. This Washington State University graduate admits a Husky pride.

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