Friday, July 24, 2015

Just Add Water by Clay Marzo & Robert Yehling (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

From the best freestyle surfer in the world, an inspiring and moving memoir about his ascendance to the top of the surfing world while struggling for most of his young life with undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome

Clay Marzo has an almost preternatural gift with a surfboard. From his first moments underwater (he learned to swim at two months old) to his first ventures atop his father's surfboard as a toddler, it was obvious that Marzo's single-minded focus on all things surfing was unique. But not until late in his teens, when this surfing phenom was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, did the deeper reasons for his obsession—and his astonishing gift for surfing—become clear.

Just Add Water is the remarkable story of Marzo's rise to the top of the pro surfing world—and the personal trials he overcame in making it there. Marzo endured a difficult childhood. He was a colicky baby who his mother found could be soothed only with water. Later, as he entered school, his undiagnosed Asperger's made it tough for him to relate to his peers and fit in, but his relationship with the wave was elemental. Marzo could always turn to surfing, the only place where he truly felt at peace.

Unflinching and inspiring, Just Add Water is a brave memoir from a one-of-a-kind surfing savant who has electrified fans around the world with his gift and whose story speaks boldly to the hope and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

My thoughts-

Savants are intriguing to me and I have never heard of a surfing savant so I was really interested in reading Clay's story. Most people on the spectrum are awkward and clumsy so you might not think it even possible for someone that falls on it to surf at all, let alone be one of the best professional surfers of his generation. Clay Marzo has been in the water practically his whole life. He comes from a family of established surfers and pretty much learned to surf by doing the mirror image of what he saw his older brother Cheyne do on his board. Just Add Water is about Clay's surfing career and his struggles to deal with his talent and love of surfing while struggling with being in the limelight and having to interact with so many people. The book discusses pretty much Clay's whole life. How he struggled in school and was misdiagnosed so many times, but through all of the struggles all he wanted to do was get out and catch a wave. The story also discusses his relationship with his family. It reminds me of other families I know dealing with something like Asperger's or Autism, with one parent wanting to get the kid help and the other parent worried about labels or convinced nothing is wrong and the kid is just lazy. There is also a great amount of information on the surfing world to be found in this book. I don't know a ton about surfing, but reading this book definitely made me want to go out and watch Clay and his friends compete. Just Add Water is a great book for anyone touched by Asperger's to read. I think it would be especially beneficial to parent's of children with Asperger's as well as Aspies themselves. This book will give them hope that they can be successful if they work hard on their special interest. I definitely think that people who have never had an experience with people on the spectrum would benefit from this book as well. It is a mountain of knowledge. It shows of the struggle families can go through to get a diagnosis and how several people in one family can react totally differently, but most of all it could introduce the mind and world of someone with Asperger's. It may help someone better understand the mind of someone with Asperger's and with a higher diagnosis rate of Autism Spectrum Disorders that still seems to be on the rise, I think that is important.

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