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In the Water They Can't See You Cry: A Memoir

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In this candid and ultimately uplifting memoir, Olympic medalist Amanda Beard reveals the truth about coming of age in the spotlight, the demons she battled along the way, and the newfound happiness that has proved to be her greatest victory. At the tender age of fourteen, Amanda Beard walked onto the pool deck at the Atlanta Olympics carrying her teddy bear, Harold, and l In this candid and ultimately uplifting memoir, Olympic medalist Amanda Beard reveals the truth about coming of age in the spotlight, the demons she battled along the way, and the newfound happiness that has proved to be her greatest victory. At the tender age of fourteen, Amanda Beard walked onto the pool deck at the Atlanta Olympics carrying her teddy bear, Harold, and left with two silvers and a gold medal. She competed in three more Olympic games, winning a total of seven medals, and enjoyed a lucrative modeling career on the side. At one point, she was the most downloaded female athlete on the Internet. Yet despite her astonishing career and sex-symbol status, Amanda felt unworthy of all her success. Unaware that she was suffering from clinical depression, she hid the pain beneath a megawatt smile. With no other outlet for her feelings besides the pool, Amanda expressed her emotions through self-destructive behavior. In her late teens and twenties, she became bulimic, abused drugs and alcohol, and started cutting herself. Her low self-esteem led to toxic relationships with high-profile men in the sports world. No one, not even her own parents and friends, knew about the turmoil she was going through. Only when she met her future husband, who discovered her cutting herself, did Amanda realize she needed help. Through her renewed faith in herself; the love of her family; and finally the birth of her baby boy, Blaise, Amanda has transformed her life. In these pages, she speaks frankly about her struggles with depression, the pressures to be thin, and the unhealthy relationships she confused for love. In the Water They Can’t See You Cry is a raw, compelling story of a woman who gained the strength to live as bravely out of the water as she did in it.


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In this candid and ultimately uplifting memoir, Olympic medalist Amanda Beard reveals the truth about coming of age in the spotlight, the demons she battled along the way, and the newfound happiness that has proved to be her greatest victory. At the tender age of fourteen, Amanda Beard walked onto the pool deck at the Atlanta Olympics carrying her teddy bear, Harold, and l In this candid and ultimately uplifting memoir, Olympic medalist Amanda Beard reveals the truth about coming of age in the spotlight, the demons she battled along the way, and the newfound happiness that has proved to be her greatest victory. At the tender age of fourteen, Amanda Beard walked onto the pool deck at the Atlanta Olympics carrying her teddy bear, Harold, and left with two silvers and a gold medal. She competed in three more Olympic games, winning a total of seven medals, and enjoyed a lucrative modeling career on the side. At one point, she was the most downloaded female athlete on the Internet. Yet despite her astonishing career and sex-symbol status, Amanda felt unworthy of all her success. Unaware that she was suffering from clinical depression, she hid the pain beneath a megawatt smile. With no other outlet for her feelings besides the pool, Amanda expressed her emotions through self-destructive behavior. In her late teens and twenties, she became bulimic, abused drugs and alcohol, and started cutting herself. Her low self-esteem led to toxic relationships with high-profile men in the sports world. No one, not even her own parents and friends, knew about the turmoil she was going through. Only when she met her future husband, who discovered her cutting herself, did Amanda realize she needed help. Through her renewed faith in herself; the love of her family; and finally the birth of her baby boy, Blaise, Amanda has transformed her life. In these pages, she speaks frankly about her struggles with depression, the pressures to be thin, and the unhealthy relationships she confused for love. In the Water They Can’t See You Cry is a raw, compelling story of a woman who gained the strength to live as bravely out of the water as she did in it.

30 review for In the Water They Can't See You Cry: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darby Douglas

    I wrote an essay about how Amanda Beard was my hero in fifth grade. I wanted to be just like her; dominating the Olympics at the age of fourteen as a breaststroker. And reading this book now, I have something else to admire her for. She is an inspiration to anyone who's battled inner demons or who has suffered the early monring stress of being a swimmer. (Role models don't get any better than that!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    The memoir of Amanda Beard is a page turner and while it was completely open and honest I still felt distance from her. Almost as if she fears what the reader will think. She let us in but, I felt she was still holding back. This is also how she lived day to day never one to talk out her issues. Finally in the end (the last few chapters) you can almost see the wall come down as she heals. Amazing that you can appear to have it all and have nothing at the same time. Be such a likeable person but The memoir of Amanda Beard is a page turner and while it was completely open and honest I still felt distance from her. Almost as if she fears what the reader will think. She let us in but, I felt she was still holding back. This is also how she lived day to day never one to talk out her issues. Finally in the end (the last few chapters) you can almost see the wall come down as she heals. Amazing that you can appear to have it all and have nothing at the same time. Be such a likeable person but not like yourself. As a mother of a competitive swimmer this was very insightful and also scary that no one could see how much turmoil this young girl was in. After reading Michael Phelps book I was surprised at how very little she talks about times, other swimmers, and meets ( although Michael seemed to talk of little else). She really focuses on her health issues, boyfriend and family issues. I was looking for a little more on the swimming but, this is her story to tell. In the end I think she found love and her son seems to be her world. I wish great health and happiness for Amanda and thank her for sharing her story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

    “All swimming meets are boring. Even the Olympics,” says Amanda Beard in her recently released memoir “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry.” While Beard does recount her experiences at four past Summer Olympics, the main part of this compelling book is about her struggles with cutting and bulimia. I had intended only to skim the book as I reviewed it for this column; however her story of struggling and overcoming is so engaging I looked up two hours later having read the entire book! As a child “All swimming meets are boring. Even the Olympics,” says Amanda Beard in her recently released memoir “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry.” While Beard does recount her experiences at four past Summer Olympics, the main part of this compelling book is about her struggles with cutting and bulimia. I had intended only to skim the book as I reviewed it for this column; however her story of struggling and overcoming is so engaging I looked up two hours later having read the entire book! As a child the pool was an outlet for Beard, whose parents divorced when she was in grade school. She qualified for her first Olympics in 1996 at age 14. Her first Olympic experience was surreal and lonely as the youngest member of the team. Her comments on the media spotlight are interesting. One of the iconic images of the 1996 Games was a photo of Beard and her bear, Harold. In her book she tells her side of the teddy bear story, stating she brought the bear to the starting blocks on a dare from teammates. Beard’s candid memoir is an encouraging read about overcoming your personal demons. Beard competed in the 2012 swimming trials, but missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I give Amanda Beard credit for sharing her story but I felt the memoir read more like a diary entry of bad relationships and the swimming was an after thought. She talks about swimming in the very beginning of the book when she was young and how it shaped her, but really the insight into to her childhood swimming is about the extent of her delving into her swimming life. She divulges that she was bulimic and cutting herself, but most of the time it reads: Oh and by the way, I was still cutting m I give Amanda Beard credit for sharing her story but I felt the memoir read more like a diary entry of bad relationships and the swimming was an after thought. She talks about swimming in the very beginning of the book when she was young and how it shaped her, but really the insight into to her childhood swimming is about the extent of her delving into her swimming life. She divulges that she was bulimic and cutting herself, but most of the time it reads: Oh and by the way, I was still cutting myself and bulimic. I feel as if she introduced the problems and then doesn't speak about them again until the very end of the book. At one point she describes the entire Olympics in one paragraph. I guess I was disappointed. Although the book did remind me of a quote in Lynn Sherr's book Swim: Why We Love the Water. She interviewed a swimmer and the swimmer said she did not have enough dysfunction in her life to become a top swimming athlete. I wish her luck with her bid for the 2012 Olympic games.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy Moritz

    Let me say this, I didn't know how messed up Amanda Beard was. Really, I mean that as a compliment. Because from my view as a fan (and a person who interviewed and met her once) she seemed perfect, charmed and slightly aloof. This was a powerful memoir of a female athlete who had success early and sustained it, but with difficulty. She reveals her inner demons, mostly in the form of self-doubt and body issues. I never would have thought that the famed and celebrated Olympic swimmer who posed in Let me say this, I didn't know how messed up Amanda Beard was. Really, I mean that as a compliment. Because from my view as a fan (and a person who interviewed and met her once) she seemed perfect, charmed and slightly aloof. This was a powerful memoir of a female athlete who had success early and sustained it, but with difficulty. She reveals her inner demons, mostly in the form of self-doubt and body issues. I never would have thought that the famed and celebrated Olympic swimmer who posed in men's magazines would feel horrible about her body. Most powerful to me, someone who tries to be health and fit, was her description of one of her photo shoots. She starved herself for two weeks to lose weight to look right for the photos. However, she noted that her "athletic image" in those photos bore little resemblance to what an actual athlete's body needed to look like to be successful. That hit home. So too did her talking about how much those photos are about lighting and photshop. It gives a totally different perspective on what those pictures of female athletes mean.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I have to be really honest, I was disappointed with this book. When I saw Ms. Beard on Dr. Phil, I thought this book was going to be a "I made it through the rain" type of book and lessons learned for our young women who are under a ton of pressures for multiple reasons. It wasn't. Instead, I found a really discombobulated book that rarely touched on deep emotions, but at other times, was incredibly superficial in its' presentation. I think that Ms. Beard has the potential to serve as a role mod I have to be really honest, I was disappointed with this book. When I saw Ms. Beard on Dr. Phil, I thought this book was going to be a "I made it through the rain" type of book and lessons learned for our young women who are under a ton of pressures for multiple reasons. It wasn't. Instead, I found a really discombobulated book that rarely touched on deep emotions, but at other times, was incredibly superficial in its' presentation. I think that Ms. Beard has the potential to serve as a role model for young women who turn stressors and pressures onto themselves vs. having healthy relationships and coping skills and this book failed miserably at portraying that message.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    “in the water they can’t see you cry” by Amanda Beard with Rebecca Paley, published by Touchstone Books. Category – Memoir Most of us remember Amanda Beard from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She was the cute fourteen year old who won two silver medals and one gold medal. None of us were aware of what it took for her to get there and the consequences that plagued her due to her youth and notoriety. Amanda was just having fun in 1996, but that all turned dark when she became a fourteen year old celebrity “in the water they can’t see you cry” by Amanda Beard with Rebecca Paley, published by Touchstone Books. Category – Memoir Most of us remember Amanda Beard from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She was the cute fourteen year old who won two silver medals and one gold medal. None of us were aware of what it took for her to get there and the consequences that plagued her due to her youth and notoriety. Amanda was just having fun in 1996, but that all turned dark when she became a fourteen year old celebrity, a status that she neither wanted nor knew how to handle. She found herself heading into an area of self-destruction. Self-destruction came in the form of not being happy with her body, bouts of depression, struggles with alcohol and drugs, bulimia, and worse of all cutting. She had a very difficult time with relationships that she found very difficult to end. Her relationships with Ryk Neethling, a World Class swimmer from South Africa, and Carl Edwards, a NASCAR driver, were tumultuous and devastating. Through all of this, Amanda was able to complete in four Olympic games and win seven medals. She is now training to attempt to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. A wonderful story that should be read by all those participating in competitive sports and those that show signs of the problems overcome by Amanda Beard. A book that also belongs on the shelves of those who love memoirs.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I chose this book because I am doing a challenge for 2019 to read (listen) to book genre's I don't normally read. I wanted to do one about an athlete. Kinda wish I hadn't listened to this one. I will put this note: Reading it probably would have been better because the actor who read this made Amanda's voice very unsympathetic and sort of annoying. I often found myself dissecting what was really being said - as when I HEARD it, I found myself disliking Amanda. I also find that people in their 30's I chose this book because I am doing a challenge for 2019 to read (listen) to book genre's I don't normally read. I wanted to do one about an athlete. Kinda wish I hadn't listened to this one. I will put this note: Reading it probably would have been better because the actor who read this made Amanda's voice very unsympathetic and sort of annoying. I often found myself dissecting what was really being said - as when I HEARD it, I found myself disliking Amanda. I also find that people in their 30's just shouldn't do memoirs or autobiographies. I don't feel they have the maturity to look back on their past and see it as they should. Beard focused a lot on her past relationships and still had the voice of someone who wanted to wound their ex. I saw no reason for this as many parts of the book seem to reflect her immaturity rather than her reflection back on a relationship to see how it changed her. I just don't feel like we have to have books written by every famous person to show that they are...human. There were also a lot of parts that mentioned her depression. I found it heartbreaking, as so many people deal with this. But mixed in with this was the fact that she had a lot of advantages in life. She could have reflected a little bit more on that and the fact that she STILL had depression, given all this rather than "I had to sell one of my two homes." Boo hoo! I have feeling that Amanda, years from now, will laugh at herself. If she hasn't already.

  9. 5 out of 5

    DW

    I wasn't going to read this book because it sounded awfully depressing ... but then I wanted a fast read and this fit the bill. I finished it in less than 24 hours. I thought this book would be exactly like other biographies I've read of other female athletes (like Chalked Up and Pretty Good For A Girl). It was similar (talent at young age, life-consuming training, family issues, wins, losses, problems leaving the sport, marriage, children). What made it different was the extent of her family iss I wasn't going to read this book because it sounded awfully depressing ... but then I wanted a fast read and this fit the bill. I finished it in less than 24 hours. I thought this book would be exactly like other biographies I've read of other female athletes (like Chalked Up and Pretty Good For A Girl). It was similar (talent at young age, life-consuming training, family issues, wins, losses, problems leaving the sport, marriage, children). What made it different was the extent of her family issues (her mom moves out while she was on vacation with her Dad and they never talk about it ever? Really?), her long relationships with emotionally abusive men, and her drug abuse and cutting. Oh, and nude modeling. That's pretty unique. What struck me was that I had trouble believing that the book was written in her voice. The descriptions of her bad relationships, drug abuse, and self-mutilation were very fair, acknowledging that she was partially at fault for her past situations. Given that she describes herself breaking anything she laid hands on when she got mad, I found it hard to believe that she had the emotional distance to describe past things she had done without blaming other people. I'm going by Chalked Up, in which, despite having more years since the events she described, Jennifer Sey traces every one of her losses, injuries, and unhealthy eating choices to a wobbly floor, an aggressive stretching coach, a host who was a poor cook ... However, at the very end of the book, Amanda does go through therapy and sounds like she managed to balance out her life, so perhaps she has come to terms with everything. Jennifer Sey does not seem to have gone to therapy. The other thing that surprised me was that Amanda was very much a child at her first Olympics (14, but "a late bloomer"). She's lonely and bored because she doesn't fit in with the rest of the team who is much older than she is. I would have been like that in a similar situation (except for the world-class swimmer part, obviously). But then Amanda grows up and very much catches up on the dating-drinking-sex world by the time she gets to college, whereas I didn't. I guess not all late bloomers stay wallflowers.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Corinne Edwards

    Do you know Amanda Beard? If you watched the 1996 Olympics the way I did, you would know her - the 14 year old swimmer who ended up on the medal stand three times. This book is her story - her journey as a swimmer and as the girl BEYOND the swimmer. Open and sometimes brutally honest, Amanda takes us behind the scenes at the Olympics, at the training pool and in her private life. My daughter actually checked this out at the library, but she didn't have a chance to read it before heading to camp Do you know Amanda Beard? If you watched the 1996 Olympics the way I did, you would know her - the 14 year old swimmer who ended up on the medal stand three times. This book is her story - her journey as a swimmer and as the girl BEYOND the swimmer. Open and sometimes brutally honest, Amanda takes us behind the scenes at the Olympics, at the training pool and in her private life. My daughter actually checked this out at the library, but she didn't have a chance to read it before heading to camp so I started it in a moment of peace. I found myself strangely interested - it's very readable and her life is very intriguing. I really loved what she had to say about that first Olympics she went to - it's crazy to read about an event like that from an insider's point of view, since we are only shown what the media WANTS us to see, not necessarily the whole truth. Sometimes she was frustrating - so many unfortunate choices. And it took a long time for her to figure out who she really was - but that part I think was what I liked most. She talks bluntly about some very personal issues - an eating disorder, self-harm, depression - and how she worked through it. How she faced it and continues to overcome it. She really ripped on some of the people she had relationships with, and sometimes it felt like she was being vaguely vindictive, which was annoying. But I was still intrigued enough that even with very few reading minutes available, I wanted to finish it. It wasn't necessarily a life-changing read but I respect her openness about things that a lot of people are dealing with - it makes you feel that if amazing, world-recording holding athletes can have such hard problems and overcome them, maybe I can too., 2013, memoir, non-fiction, sports, mental illness

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kmritsa

    It is very honest, ironically, about Amanda's mindset, ambitions, drive; I found Amanda to be highly self-absorbed, rude, needy and selfish. Passive aggressiveness is still malicious. And in her case, she painted many events *instigated* by her as being events where she remained the victim, who needed to be sympathized with. There are no rules or boundaries of relationships for her, and I assume that might be just how her family was as well. The way she burned her old relationships and made sure It is very honest, ironically, about Amanda's mindset, ambitions, drive; I found Amanda to be highly self-absorbed, rude, needy and selfish. Passive aggressiveness is still malicious. And in her case, she painted many events *instigated* by her as being events where she remained the victim, who needed to be sympathized with. There are no rules or boundaries of relationships for her, and I assume that might be just how her family was as well. The way she burned her old relationships and made sure to take subtle jabs at Sasha's ex.... accumulated as the story drew on. I personally could not relate to her selfishness and arrogance. But I try to find positives in most things, the whole account of her life from her own mouth certainly helps one understand how other people's minds think and function... Also, it helped me see that often we tend to believe everything that comes out of our mouths or that we are the very center of the universe. Honestly, if there are people like her in the world, then I obviously would stay far far away.... from them. I also can't help but wonder how her marriage will hold up based on her behavior... In any case, her childhood struggles and early vulnerabilities where what really carried the book. I was rooting for her in that phase. I wish that she had maintained that youthful outlook on life. It would have saved her from a mountain of problems. Another takeaway for me: Enjoy life. Pity yourself least of all. Do your work like you are a child expecting nothing but mastering the task. If you listen to the audiobook by Tavia, then maybe like me you will find "breaststroke" irritating. It is so unnecessarily enunciated it makes me laugh and roll my eyes like a teen...lol

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kc

    Since a young age, Amanda Beard has been one of my swimming idols, and I always looked up to her as a swimmer. After reading her memoir and learning about the hardships she has had to overcome, I now look up to her as a person as well. She had to deal with her parents' divorce at an early age and escape emotionally abusive relationships, but what really hit home for me was how she dealt with her low self-esteem in the years after her first Olympics. I completely empathized with her need for rele Since a young age, Amanda Beard has been one of my swimming idols, and I always looked up to her as a swimmer. After reading her memoir and learning about the hardships she has had to overcome, I now look up to her as a person as well. She had to deal with her parents' divorce at an early age and escape emotionally abusive relationships, but what really hit home for me was how she dealt with her low self-esteem in the years after her first Olympics. I completely empathized with her need for release through cutting, but admired the way that she was willing to ask for help and improve her life. The memoir ended on a high note, and it's clear that her husband Sacha and her son Blaise have been the high points in her life. Of course I recommend this to all swimmers, but I also recommend non-swimmers to read this because it provides a good message that no matter how hard things are, you can still overcome them. It also shows people that everyone has to struggle in life, even Olympians. All in all, it's an incredibly inspiring memoir from one of the greatest swimmers in the world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meggen

    This book made me very sad to read. Amanda, an Olympic swimmer and winner of several medals in her 5 appearances in the games, writes candidly about her life and struggles. The same intensity which drove her to win in the pool also drove her reckless lifestyle as a self-proclaimed "adrenalin junkie." She is frank about her drug and alcohol use, unhealthy/dysfunctional relationships with family members and lovers, body image issues, bulimia, cutting, and depression. Anyone who has struggled with This book made me very sad to read. Amanda, an Olympic swimmer and winner of several medals in her 5 appearances in the games, writes candidly about her life and struggles. The same intensity which drove her to win in the pool also drove her reckless lifestyle as a self-proclaimed "adrenalin junkie." She is frank about her drug and alcohol use, unhealthy/dysfunctional relationships with family members and lovers, body image issues, bulimia, cutting, and depression. Anyone who has struggled with any of these issues will probably see themselves in parts of this book. I felt the last 20 pages were the most redeeming of the book--where she comes to more fully embrace who she is and realizes that being a mother and a good wife are the things that bring her the most lasting joy and fulfillment. This book was not extremely well-written nor did it inspire me to want to be better or do better. But I do appreciate the journey which Amanda has taken through her life and applaud her efforts to share her struggles and triumphs without sugar coating anything. 2.5 stars from this reader.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Hard to feel sorry for a beautiful, talented woman with a supportive family. If being obsessed about a sport and making bad boyfriend choices is enough to warrant writing a memoir, I might have enough material for one myself (sarcasm).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    The more I read, the less I liked Amanda. I don't think that's the effect the book was supposed to have on me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    In the Water They Can't See You Cry was a fantastic read! The story began with Amanda in her younger years, during summer, a blazing day in Irvine, CA; she was running from her house in a nice suburban neighborhood to the local pool, open to surrounding houses. This is where it all started for Amanda, she swan day after day, even when school began, she practiced hard and loved every minute of it. However, one day after she and her dad had returned from a vacation weekend, they opened the door to In the Water They Can't See You Cry was a fantastic read! The story began with Amanda in her younger years, during summer, a blazing day in Irvine, CA; she was running from her house in a nice suburban neighborhood to the local pool, open to surrounding houses. This is where it all started for Amanda, she swan day after day, even when school began, she practiced hard and loved every minute of it. However, one day after she and her dad had returned from a vacation weekend, they opened the door to an empty house. They had opened the door to her sisters Taryn, Leah, and her mother missing, the house barren with what solely belonged to Amanda's father. From there they moved on, Amanda only knew how to forget pain by creating it for herself in the pool, she trained harder, stuck to a specific diet, and challenged herself until one day she decided she needed a coach. She moved onto a bigger team that trained often, she started on the bottom, but within a few years would land herself fastest breaststroker on the team. Her times were good enough to get her to Olympic Trials and then onto the Olympics, at this time it would have been the 2004 Olympics in Athens Greece and she was about age eight. She did well, but after she began puberty and became depressed wondering if her mother's disappearance had been her fault. She quit swimming for a while, but later picked it back up and realized she wasn't as good as she used to be though. She did however manage to scoop up a scholarship at the UA, University of Arizona, located in Tucson, AZ. While in college, she struggled with both her classes and swimming, she had trouble reading, so she would call her dad and he would read to her. Swimming still hadn't improved much, but she met someone, Ryk, a swimmer for the African Olympic Team; later their relationship had morphed into an abusive one in which Amanda experimented with various drugs and began to be bulimic and later started cutting her wrists. After she had broken up with Ryk, she had gone on to other guys, but none as serious as she and Ryk had been; so she took up modeling and became extremely successful. It was at a photo shoot that she met her husband Sacha. He was an intern and Amanda had a love a first sight moment, she just had to get to know him, so she made the move and they began talking and later got engaged and then married. Sacha was good for Amanda, she still had issues to sort out so he demanded that she see a psychiatrist, in which she did, and later was able to get medication for the issues she underwent. When they were ready, they made the decision to have a baby, and on September 15, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. Blaise Ray Brown was born, Amanda mainly focused on being a mother, not so much on her swimming career, but when she was ready, she got back in the pool and went to the gym regularly, and one more time made it to Olympic Trials, but failed to make it all the way, but she was happy that she had even placed because she knew that this would be one of her last great swims. From there the story died down and went into the credits, which was also interesting to read as well. In my opinion this book was invigorating and all around amazing. There was only one thing I hated about it, that it ended so fast. It was one of those books that you just cannot put down (my favorite kind of book). I loved so many aspects of this book, for example, I loved that Amanda expressed her drug abuse, abuse, and just pure hardships that she had to go through. The things I really enjoyed however were the stories about her son, how she met Sacha, and her swimming stories. I was able to truly connect with this book because I too was a swimmer, but had to give it up because of reasons other than having a child. It wasn't that Amanda had to give it up though, she wanted to because she cared more about her son opposed to what really made her happy, which I also admired. I would recommend this book to people of all ages, but specifically teens who love memoirs or autobiographies, coming of age, family, or learning lessons.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Hopkins

    Very quick read about the life of a four-time Olympic swimmer. I will start by saying that I was maybe a tiny bit disappointed because I thought it was going to be more about training and competing at a high level but it felt like there was more about boyfriends than anything else. The swimming details are great and there's a lot of insight into that part of Beard's life, so don't get me wrong, and obviously her boyfriends were a big part of her life, I know swimming isn't everything. But someth Very quick read about the life of a four-time Olympic swimmer. I will start by saying that I was maybe a tiny bit disappointed because I thought it was going to be more about training and competing at a high level but it felt like there was more about boyfriends than anything else. The swimming details are great and there's a lot of insight into that part of Beard's life, so don't get me wrong, and obviously her boyfriends were a big part of her life, I know swimming isn't everything. But something about the boyfriend talk just irked me...with the two exes it almost seems like this book is a public way of attacking their personalities and behaviors. The book is also kind of hyped as a "look at all of these mental issues!" sort of thing, so I expected it to be more of a look at internal struggles. The internal struggles are there, but some aspects get only brief mentions. It is a really great autobiography; I'm just picking apart little details. It is very insightful, as it's awesome to see what's going on in the mind of an elite athlete. I especially liked the NCAA vs going pro aspect, and then of course descriptions of the Olympic Village and the mindset both when competing as well as the rest of the time spent at the Games. Reading about boyfriend drama just doesn't happen to be my thing, so that's why I was maybe a little turned off, but when I look at it as a whole, it's an awesome book from which so many people will find inspiration!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Wagner

    As a person there is much to admire in Amanda Beard's story. Addiction is such a horrible disease and anyone who can claw their way out of it deserves applause and praise. Her achievements as a swimmer are also amazing. That said- did not enjoy this book. From the beginning Beard paints herself as a very unlikable character. From describing the Olympics and swimming as 'boring' and a drag to endless accounts of her miserable boyfriends, she came across as whining and annoying. I got the feeling As a person there is much to admire in Amanda Beard's story. Addiction is such a horrible disease and anyone who can claw their way out of it deserves applause and praise. Her achievements as a swimmer are also amazing. That said- did not enjoy this book. From the beginning Beard paints herself as a very unlikable character. From describing the Olympics and swimming as 'boring' and a drag to endless accounts of her miserable boyfriends, she came across as whining and annoying. I got the feeling we weren't hearing the whole story on the boyfriend account and would be interested to hear their perspective. There is actually little about real training or dedication. Most of the book is about her boyfriend squabbles and addictions. The odd thing about addiction memoir's is despite the magnitude of the experiences in real life, reading about them feels very tedious. Addiction, especially eating disorders, are kind of selfish experiences and after a chapter or 2 I grew weary of the details, again it feels like a lot of complaining. A lot of the writing felt very immature like Beard had never really grown up from the 14 year old at the Olympics. Surely there was some good things but the only real relationship ever portrayed is between Beard and her father. Anyway- great title, not a great book. Still, I hope Beard does well as a swimmer and is able to maintain sobriety.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ClassicPink

    Did not learn very much about her Olympic experiences. And this memoir is not entirely about that so that is not a complaint but it is something that I had hoped for. It seems as if there was a lot of blaming of her boyfriends for many of her woes. She seems very co-dependent and judgemental. The airing out of the names of people who rubbed her wrong all the way back in high school was a letdown. I felt like the fact that she was primarily raised by her father and not her mother was the elephant Did not learn very much about her Olympic experiences. And this memoir is not entirely about that so that is not a complaint but it is something that I had hoped for. It seems as if there was a lot of blaming of her boyfriends for many of her woes. She seems very co-dependent and judgemental. The airing out of the names of people who rubbed her wrong all the way back in high school was a letdown. I felt like the fact that she was primarily raised by her father and not her mother was the elephant in the room. To act as if that was not the source of her negative self-image was confusing and ridiculous. She also does not seem to accept responsibility for her own decisions in regards to her drug usage. The book itself was poorly written. Not to say that she actually wrote it. With the information she shared about her learning disorder and practice schedule I am amazed that her parents allowed her to be essentially uneducated. Amanda comes across as entitled and dense. Her Father bought her a home when she was in college yet she hardly mentions studying and was more concerned with having her friends and boyfriend live with her. Not that she had to study because it seems her teachers were passing her along because of her athletic abilities. Wow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Erceg

    Amanda Beard's memoir of her life in, and out, of a swimming pool is one that I feel all adolescent females (and males, for that matter) should take time to read. She shares her struggles with body image, abusive relationships, and depression, becoming a role model and voice for those who are suffering from the same issues and scared to reach out. Although from our couches and computer chairs she seemed to live a perfect life, much more was going on under the surface. It was eye opening to learn Amanda Beard's memoir of her life in, and out, of a swimming pool is one that I feel all adolescent females (and males, for that matter) should take time to read. She shares her struggles with body image, abusive relationships, and depression, becoming a role model and voice for those who are suffering from the same issues and scared to reach out. Although from our couches and computer chairs she seemed to live a perfect life, much more was going on under the surface. It was eye opening to learn of her struggles with body image in spite of her athleticism, Olympic gold medals, and modeling career. It was especially eye opening to make the realization that the media attacked a teenager for a going through puberty. A quick read that flows well. Only gave it a 4 because I felt that certain aspect only received a superficial discussion and could have been delved into more thoroughly/deeply. All in all, I would definitely recommend. Just a note, I've seen various negative reviews (mainly on other sites), bashing Amanda for lying and fabricating her story. Let's all remember that this is a memoir. It is told from the subject's perspective.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shalisha

    I have no idea what made me pick up this book - could be because I remember seeing her swim as a 4 year old. I also remember the next time I saw her swim - something about the way her coy smile and piercing blue eyes when she looked up realized she did well. Reading the snyopsis of her book, I was kind of drawn to experience her stuggles with her anger and or emotional issues. (could be because I haven't seen a lifetime movie in quite some time) At any rate, great story of struggle, strife and ov I have no idea what made me pick up this book - could be because I remember seeing her swim as a 4 year old. I also remember the next time I saw her swim - something about the way her coy smile and piercing blue eyes when she looked up realized she did well. Reading the snyopsis of her book, I was kind of drawn to experience her stuggles with her anger and or emotional issues. (could be because I haven't seen a lifetime movie in quite some time) At any rate, great story of struggle, strife and overcoming. I felt personally invested and involved in her story and am happy that she has found a way to express herself in a more productive manner.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Garcia

    I was looking forward to an inspiring story of an Olympic swimmer who fought her demons head on and came out on top. I was unbelievably disappointed. I grew weary of her back-to-back stories of bad relationships, bad decisions, self-esteem issues, bulimia, etcetera. It was so bad for me I put the book away and didn't want to continue reading it. It was sad and depressing. A year later I decided bite the bullet and finish it. Finally, a moment when I felt a sigh of relief, she went to a psycholog I was looking forward to an inspiring story of an Olympic swimmer who fought her demons head on and came out on top. I was unbelievably disappointed. I grew weary of her back-to-back stories of bad relationships, bad decisions, self-esteem issues, bulimia, etcetera. It was so bad for me I put the book away and didn't want to continue reading it. It was sad and depressing. A year later I decided bite the bullet and finish it. Finally, a moment when I felt a sigh of relief, she went to a psychologist thanks to her husband, Sacha. He is heaven sent. I don't believe she would be where she is today without him.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Despite the length of this memoir, I walked away not feeling as though I knew Beard any better than I did before. Overall the main issue with the book was the writing, it was rather shallow and contained some of my pet peeves (such as using "could care less" repeatedly). There was far too little insight into the swimming world and the Olympics. Instead the focus of the book was Beard's relationships, which were not terribly healthy or interesting. Ultimately the book lacks depth in detail and wr Despite the length of this memoir, I walked away not feeling as though I knew Beard any better than I did before. Overall the main issue with the book was the writing, it was rather shallow and contained some of my pet peeves (such as using "could care less" repeatedly). There was far too little insight into the swimming world and the Olympics. Instead the focus of the book was Beard's relationships, which were not terribly healthy or interesting. Ultimately the book lacks depth in detail and writing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bala

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I really applaud the way Amanda overcame her hurdles and came out a true winner both in profession and in personal life. But, certain things like boyfriend situation I felt it was more blame game, or being in playboy magazine etc I was not really thrilled to read. All in all I admire her for how she turned into in the end. I think most of the credit goes to her husband Sasha

  25. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I really liked this one. I was clueless that Amanda went through so much and was so insecure. She was brutally frank with her life this far, amazing considering that often she didn't portray herself in a good light. It seems like she is in a good place right now with her life, one can only hope that she stays there.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelle

    This book was interesting to read and well written, but I came away with an intense dislike for Amanda. She's selfish, whiny, and I couldn't stand her inability to stand up for herself. I also couldn't believe how self centered she seemed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    The book was lackluster. It was more about her temper and Olympic experiences than her struggle with depression and self injury. The opening scene sets up the book, but is quickly deflated. Not the best memoir.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves

    As an ex-swimmer, I loved learning more about Amanda's story. And there's some great behind the scenes information about the Olympics. A good pick for people interested in swimming and/or the Olympics.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    Great read. We all admire those in the spotlight but don't stop to think that they are human beings with unbelievable pressures put on them to perform. This is a touching memoir of one of the United States most inspiring swimmers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    it is amazing how people seem so perfect on the outside when they are dying on the inside. beautifully written

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