Rockaway: Surfing Headlong into a New Life

Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780358067788. $26. SPORTS
In search of a good story and at a personal crossroads in life, journalist Cardwell stopped by a surf beach in Montauk, Long Island, in 2010. What she saw changed everything for her—the ease and grace of surfers, the combination of the sun and the water, and an entire subculture that was instantly alluring. Putting internal doubts aside, Cardwell left her marriage and city life behind in order to move to a beach bungalow and begin surfing lessons. Her memoir emphasizes her progress as a surfer, but she doesn’t shy away from personal introspection. Cardwell’s firsthand account of Hurricane Sandy, and how she and her neighbors survived the devastation together is particularly poignant. Written with a warm and conversational style, this is an unusual story of personal triumph, insight into what makes a community stronger, and a reminder that perceived limitations are often self-imposed.
VERDICT Readers looking for an offbeat, uplifting account, and those with an interest in surfing or outdoor challenges, should find this engaging. An ideal selection for book groups and recommended for all public library collections.

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