RUTH FITZMAURICE‘s voice is clear and true and speaks to the reader as to a friend in her EXCEPTIONAL MEMOIR …
“Happy Anniversary,” I say to Simon with my usual morning kiss to his forehead. “Can you sit with the kids tonight while the girls and I go for a naked full moon swim?” We have run ourselves ragged together for so long. Now I need this moon swim to save myself. The smile in his eyes gives me hope he understands that. I’m still not sure. He might be enjoying my gift of a mental image composed of all girl nakedness.
I hum around the house all day, dreaming of full moons. I can taste the thrill of shy bodies standing naked over a dark sea. Our birth scars, broken veins and secret wobbly bits, will bask in moonlight. We can defy our brains and dive deep with hammering hearts. The moment feet find water, bodies will work against worried brains. We’ll leap and mainline right into the pulse of nature. There is so much to fear around illness, and this is the opposite of that … I know I can be brave as long as the waves keep pounding. That’s just what waves do. I hope Simon and I can be kind to one another. The landscape may change, but it is always surprising and beautiful.”
In I Found My Tribe, Ruth Fitzmaurice takes in her firm, funny embrace the day-to-day life of her family: her filmmaker husband Simon, who has motor neurone disease, her five lively, loving, clever children, her chaotic home, with its endless parade of carers – the “strangers who fill our kettle”, and the Tragic Wives Swimming Club, the women with whom she swims, for solace, for escape, to make sense of the cruelty of the illness visited on her husband and her family. Fitzmaurice is a wonderful writer and this is an exceptional and beautifully written book about how love – changed but yet unchanged – friendship, frustration, deep despair and delight, can all be experienced in the same day. Her voice is clear and true and speaks to the reader as to a friend. If you buy one book this summer, make it this one.
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