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Book Review: In the Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard, with Rebecca Paley

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Amanda Beard is a seven-time Olympic gold medalist, a swimmer who, at age 30, has been in four Olympics so far. She is beautiful and successful. As an adult, she has had a highly successful career as a model as well as a swimmer. At one time, hers was the most downloaded of any athlete’s image on the Internet.

Yet , as she reveals in In the Water They Can’t See You Cry, for much of her life, Beard was severely depressed. She was convinced she was ugly and not good enough, to the point that she suffered from anorexia, bulimia and clinical depression. To handle her dark moods, she even resorted to cutting herself. And yet, she kept all this her secret for many years. Even her loving family did not know, or the boyfriends who were so focused on themselves they never thought of her feelings and needs. It was only when she met a man who really cared and who talked her into getting therapy that she found a balanced life.

With great honesty and courage, Beard tells her story of incredible highs and lows.

Whether you remember Beard as a 14-year old phenomenon at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, or as the swimmer who took gold in 2004, or whether you don’t remember her as a swimmer at all, you will find her amazing story riveting and you will finish it with respect for her resilience and for having the courage to finally tell all of her secrets to the world.

Maybe In the Water They Can’t See You Cry will help others who think they are the only ones who think the way they do, who realize that they have been blessed in many ways and yet are scared and unhappy inside. And maybe it will make some of the rest of us more aware of the feelings of those around us. Either way, the book is eye-opening, fascinating, and ultimately, uplifting as Beard finds her way to loving herself and thus being able to love others and enjoy her life.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.