Turning: a year in the water is a beautiful, extremely unique, autobiographical nature-memoir written by Jessica Lee. It will be released May 2nd, 2017.
The publisher kindly sent me a complementary digital proof copy for review.
“Through the heat of summer to the frozen depths of winter, Lee traces her journey swimming through 52 lakes in a single year, swimming through fear and heartbreak to find her place in the world.”
Jessica swims in 52 lakes throughout four season in Germany, we are given flash backs to her childhood living in Canada and Florida, brief time spent time in London before her divorce, and then to Berlin, Germany to work on her dissertation in environmental history. As she explains the physical changes of each lake through the seasons, she is undergoing her own emotional transformation, washing remnants of self-doubt, letting go of the feeling that you are not where you’re meant to be, and also learning to not fear being alone.
Reading this memoir brought me back to my own memories swimming in lakes while growing up in Labrador. She successfully expressed the strange, opposite emotions lakes impress upon us – intense beauty, stillness, quiet, but also scary unknowns lurking below while you stare hard into the dark depths.
I often find story without dialogue slightly cumbersome, however, Jessica deflty carves her way around the story, providing description of all sense for the lakes, trees, environment, food, and German people, completely making up for the lack of dialogue. We are also given some interesting tidbits of German history concerning the war, reunification, and even some German words.
The only thing I didn’t like was how abruptly it ended, not because of how the story ended, but because I wanted to keep reading 🙂 I could read her writing for hours and hours.
I recommend this book to those who like the outdoors, swimming, are interested in Germany, and to anyone who wants to push themselves to face their fears.
Jessica Lee is a badass winter swimmer, with a PhD in Environmental History.