I was immediately drawn in by the cover of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (2013) by Daniel James Brown, on display at my local bookstore. I’ve never gone to a school that had a rowing team, known the experience of rowing on the water, or even seen a rowing race in person, but my ex-boyfriend was a very serious rower for quite some time. In fact, he taught me good rowing technique on the rowing machines at the gym. So, even though the sport of rowing is foreign to me, reading this story still felt very personal–like I was getting a better understanding of the life my ex had before I met him.
Although my ex may have been one reason why I picked up The Boys in the Boat, the reason I kept reading was because it was fascinating–exactly the kind of non-fiction book that I love to read. It was detailed, historical, and well-researched, but with a page-turning flow and focus on the real lives and struggles of regular people.