Swell by Jenny Landreth

4 out of 5 stars

Swimming seems to be a big thing now days, there are a plethora of books about people finding solace in the waves or ponds around our country, but if you go back far enough you would find that swimming was only a male preserve and rich men only too a lot of the time. Women didn’t even get the choice, being found in the water could lead to fines or even arrest. It took until the 1930s before women were granted equal access to the wet stuff.

In this Waterbiography, Landreth explores the ways that women have pushed to be allowed to swim in the same places as men and how access was reluctantly given. She highlights those women who have taken them on at their own records across the channel and other endurance events, fought against overt discrimination just for the right to swim. In amongst these social battles are some amazing women who would not take no for an answer, some pretty dire swimming costumes and Landreth’s own personal journey swimming in lidos.

It is a really enjoyable book, and well worth reading. Landreth has a seriously dry sense of humour as well as has some fairly forthright feminist views. However, given some of the petty reasons that women were denied that right to swim, you can see why.

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  1. nickimags

    Fab review! I like the sound of this one and know some other people I’ll be recommending it to.

    • admin

      Thank you, Nicki. Had been meaning to read it for ages and wished I had done so earlier

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