A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory – Published by Particular Books, 30 August 2018
A Boy in the Water is the life story (strictly speaking a three-years-in-the-life story) of a boy from south London learning to swim and becoming the youngest person ever to swim the English Channel.
It doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Add to that the fact that Tom Gregory is a first time writer and you realise you’d need to be a very good writer to engage your readers for 180 pages. Fortunately, Tom is a very very good writer indeed.
When he writes of his eight year old self trying not to cry, of his worries and uncertainties, the pressure of wanting to achieve, the intensive training as well as the normal experiences of being a young child, you can almost feel the lump in his throat.
And when he talks of his love for his family and his trainer they come alive on the page. It’s hard not to wish you had a sister like Anna, who was so often by his side, as well as a Mum and Dad like his who supported and nurtured his talent despite their fears for his safety.
His achievement should encourage everyone who’s ever thought of giving up before realising their dream.
As for the wonderful John Bullet, this book is a worthy memorial. RIP. I hope he’s proud.