You know how people say “I can’t even?” (and it drives you nuts?)
With the book The Boys in the Boat I literally can’t even. I can’t. It’s that. good.
I have a running list of books that I’ve dubbed the “You Make Me Glad I’m a Writer and Inspire Me and Make Me Happy Even Reading You for the Thirtieth Time” books. (I don’t add to this list often. In fact, I haven’t added to it since I read the Harry Potter series in middle school. Because, Harry Potter. How do you top Harry?)
But The Boys in the Boat made the list. Swimmingly. (Am I punny?! Get it? Water? Boats? Bueller?)
In all seriousness, The Boys in the Boat, written by Daniel James Brown, is the best of both worlds: a nonfiction book that reads brilliantly like page-turning fiction. It’s the true story of nine young men who come together to form the 1936 American Olympic rowing team – and in so doing, they defy most every odd you can imagine. The story largely follows one boy in particular – Joe Rantz – who rises up in the face of the 1930’s American Depression, joblessness, loss, poverty, and even homelessness to get into college, join the rowing team, and pay his own way. Rantz and his fellow oarsmen pull together to not only beat the favored East Coast elite rowing teams, but also to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, showing Adolf Hitler and the Nazis what true heart and American grit really look like.
Basically, if you want to be inspired and feel an authentic patriotic tug at your heartstrings (don’t we all right about now?) while also reading articulate and honest writing – you’ll very much enjoy this read.