I seem to be reading a bit slowly recently, not sure why really, and this appears to be my first book review of February. However, I am getting on nicely with my Iris Murdoch read for the month so that should be up next. Here’s one of the books I bought with a book token back in January last year, at a good price because it was slightly battered.

Ian Thorpe – “This is Me”

(14 January 2018)

A good autobiography (written with Australian sports writer Robert Wainwright, who is acknowledged on the title page) although it’s in a bit of a funny order: it’s a diary of his 2011-2012 attempt at a comeback after being out of swimming for four years, then looking back on his sporting life, although not all in chronological order. It’s all clear in the end and is probably fine if you’ve followed his career in detail.

He’s honest about his depression, towards the end and also about his terrible struggles with the media, which I hadn’t realised about, but I loved the bits about his love for Japan and his passion for his charity work with Native Australians – there are a few rants in there, good for  him. He also has an interesting view on training and racing, using racing as an excuse for doing what he loves best – training. I can identify with that in my running – although obviously he enjoyed and excelled at racing. It’s also interesting to think that you’re always in your lane in swimming, not the case with most running. I did get a bit lost in some of the technical details of his swimming training and strokes, but enjoyed the descriptions of his interactions with the water.

I got very excited at one point, when I was reading about Thorpe attending a swim camp in Tenerife at the same time as my friend Verity was attending her usual swim camp there – and yes, it was the same place!

What came through was an inquisitive mind searching for something outside swimming: I think he’s become a good commentator so hopefully he’ll continue with that (this book really finishes with the London 2012 Olympics). An interesting read.