Come into the Water: A Survivor's Story by
Rapid City, South Dakota, June 9, 1972 . . . 238 people died, 5 are still missing.In the midst of one of the worst floods in the history of the United States, one young woman clung to the roof of a house, desperately holding on to the vestiges of her life. At the same time, the massive flood surging down from the Black Hills and through the city swept away everything and everybody she loved.Somehow, Merlyn Magner survived that horrific night, but she lost her brother, mother, and father to the rampaging water. Questions coursed through her mind then and for much of the rest of her life: Why did this happen? Why did my family die? Why did I survive? What does it all mean? Rescued from that rooftop, Merlyn set out to find the answers to these questions. She searched for comprehension, she searched for a sense of place, she searched for meaning, she searched . . .Her search took her from the Black Hills on a journey around the United States and then the world, traversing the globe to escape the memories and the pain, and always looking for answers. Her story is one of great tragedy and yet, equally, of great joy and reward. It is a poignant, spiritual journey, a fractured fairy tale, which has at its core the search for her very own grail, one that will help her make sense of the why, how, and what of that horrendous night.
Kirkus Reviews –
Advice- and vegan recipe-filled memoir from an ultramarathoner. As a child, Jurek frequently asked his father why he had to do chores instead of playing with friends. He invariably replied, "sometimes you just do things!" This phrase, repeated throughout the book, became Jurek's mantra through his many ultramarathons, where being merely physically fit isn't enough and psychological resiliency is a necessary component of success: "will wasn't just a matter of strength but a matter of focus...to run [an ultramarathon]...my mind was what mattered." The author begins with a frank account of lessons he learned from a difficult childhood with a strict father and a mother with multiple sclerosis. The middle of the book, mostly a description of Jurek's vegan diet and ultramarathons raced and won, shows the author at his least reflective. At a difficult moment in a race, his friend and frequent pacer Dusty Olson motivated Jurek by asking if he wanted to "get chicked" (to be outrun by a woman). The author brags that the term, Olson's coinage, is now a part of the ultrarunner vocabulary. Jurek briefly mentions his wedding and subsequent divorce but says nothing about his marriage, giving the impression that at the height of his career, training and winning were the only things that mattered. The divorce, combined with the death of his mother, contributed to a win drought; during these sections of the book, the author displays genuine introspection. Readers who push through the middle of the book will be pleased to find that Jurek has come to recognize that "a plate filled with guacamole and dinosaur kale will not deliver anyone from sorrow" and that achieving goals is often less important than striving toward them. Uneven, but patient readers will be rewarded with lessons about persistence and the joy of running.