Scholastic Inc.

June 2003

$4.99 US

113p pb

ISBN: 978-0439528313

fp October 2000

Learning To Swim: a memoir

Ann Turner

from the book...

...I am too small

to say no

only my body is so

slow   it's waiting

for someone to


I am going away.

Unfolding in a series of exquisite narrative poems, Learning To Swim is a haunting true story about a tragic summer in a young girl's life. With startling power, it juxtaposes the beautiful summer Annie is supposed to have  - picking blueberries with her brothers, learning to swim with her father - with the terrible secret she is forced to harbor.

Ann Turner's luminous memoir gently sheds light on the dark realities of abuse. In so doing, she extends a buoy to anyone who has navigated the choppy waters of childhood and adolescence, searching for a way to stay afloat.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

The book Learning to Swim is an easy, but touching read. It is an emotional book to the author and is close to her heart. It was confusing as to how old the main character was at the time that she was abused and this makes it a little bit hard to picture her. In the book she was cutting meat at one stage so I’d have to assume that she was around 10-ish, although the girl on the front of the book representing her looks around 7 or 8 years old. The boy Kevin was probably older than her but you do not get much of a description of him so it’s hard put together his age. For him to have such control over her he must’ve been an older age but he was described as one of “the kids from down the street” so I’m assuming he is still quite young as well.

I think that the swimming related to the problems that she had faced with Kevin. When Kevin was abusing her she was finding it very difficult to learn how to swim and became scared of the water and what might be in it. But as soon as the abuse from Kevin had been ceased she let things go and conquered her fears. Though this is a true story, things somehow relate to each other throughout the novel and tend to support each other and work out a happy ending for most of the bad/tough situations faced.

Kim, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

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