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Swimming with Maya

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Overview

Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent – and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, ...
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Swimming with Maya

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Overview

Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent – and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.

Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor’s life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya’s fate.

Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya’s organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya’s heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor’s traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called "heartbreaking and heart-healing," Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one’s balance after unthinkable tragedy.

Praise for Swimming with Maya:

"Vincent's poignant decision to donate Maya's organs will resonate with even hard-boiled readers." Booklist

"Powerful prose with a meaningful and memorable message." Lee Gutkind, Founder, Creative Nonfiction Magazine

"An important addition to the literature of loss and restoration." Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author of Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery

"Heartbreaking and heart healing, this compelling story of surviving the death of a child will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book." Ellen Bass, author of The Courage to Heal and The Human Line

"Every reader who has had to deal with traumatic loss will ?nd wisdom and healing in these brave pages." Chana Bloch, author of Mrs. Dumpty and Blood Honey

"Riveting, poignant, and utterly honest... It shows that one can recover from the loss of a child." Judy Tatelbaum, author of The Courage to Grieve

"Eleanor Vincent chronicles her grief and the healing that came with helping others." Carol Lin, CNN

"Blows the reader away with its clarity, its unstinting honesty, and the searing accuracy of its vision of the medical and emotional complexity surrounding the tragic death of a young woman. Highly recommended." John Ruark, MD, FACP, author of Dying Digni?ed

"Thoughtful, honest and beautifully written… a fabulous story about what it means to be a mother." Wendy Lichtman, author of Blew and the Death of the Mag and Secrets, Lies and Algebra

"Life trumps death in this beautiful memoir." Linda Joy Myers, author of Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness and Power of Memoir

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Whitney Scott
Vincent rejoices as 19-year-old Maya is accepted with a full scholarship to the theater program at UCLA. While celebrating at a park with friends, Maya takes a dare to ride a horse bareback. When the horse suddenly rears, Maya is thrown, landing on her head precisely where the skull covers the mid-brain. Even seasoned athletes don't recover from such falls and the resultant comas. Vincent's poignant decision to donate Maya's organs will resonate with even hard-boiled readers.
Lee Gutkind - Founder, Creative Nonfiction Magazine
Powerful prose with a meaningful and memorable message.

Alan Caruba - National Book Critics Circle, Bookviews Blog
A powerful memoir.
Maxine Kumin - Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
An important addition to the literature of loss and restoration.
Ellen Bass - Author of "The Courage to Heal"
Heartbreaking and heart healing, this compelling story of surviving the death of a child will stay with you long after you've closed the book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780988439047
  • Publisher: Dream of Things
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 822,734
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Eleanor Vincent is an award-winning writer whose debut memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother's Story was nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award and has been reissued by Dream of Things press. She writes about love, loss, and grief recovery with a special focus on the challenges and joys of raising children at any age.

Called "engaging" by Booklist, Swimming with Maya chronicles the life and death of Eleanor's nineteen-year-old daughter, Maya, who was thrown from a horse and pronounced brain-dead at the hospital. Eleanor donated her daughter's organs to critically ill patients and poignantly describes her friendship with a middle-aged man who was the recipient of Maya's heart.

Since the initial publication of Swimming with Maya in 2004, Eleanor has been a national spokesperson on grief recovery and organ donation and been interviewed on radio and television programs around the country.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

Her essays appear in the anthologies At the End of Life: True Stories about How we Die (edited by Lee Gutkind); This I Believe: On Motherhood; and Impact: An Anthology of Short Memoirs. They celebrate the unique and complicated bonds between mothers and daughters, making hard decisions as a parent - whether your child is 14 or 40 - and navigating midlife transitions with grace and authenticity.

She lives in Oakland, California.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Swimming with Maya is a heartbreaking story, but also one of sur

    Swimming with Maya is a heartbreaking story, but also one of survival after grief. I found the writing easy to follow. Once I started the book, it was hard to put down.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is such a touching story about a mother's love and loss. I

    This is such a touching story about a mother's love and loss. I fell like a better person for having read it.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A touching story and a darn good book. It shows us how to turn l

    A touching story and a darn good book. It shows us how to turn loss into inspiration.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    A must read

    Wonderful and so touching

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Heartbreaking

    I would rate this book 4 stars because it is not the best book out there but it is still a pretty good book. I also like the author and the other books she has written. If you people are reading this comment, then this book is heartbreaking and it is still a good book. Two in one!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    When a book brings you to tears, you know the writer has pulled

    When a book brings you to tears, you know the writer has pulled you into her words, and with Eleanor she pulls you into her story. I longed for Eleanor through having to tell her daughter’s story. It made me understand how my own Aunt must have went through when she buried her own son. I could never imagine the pain, the questions, or the emotions one might feel, but Eleanor captured just that.
    One part of the book that caught my attention, was when she was giving away Maya’s shoes and the girl tried them on then walked to make sure they fit. After the girl left Eleanor could still hear the sound of Maya’s feet. I would never have thought about that, and I can imagine that would be hard on any parent to witness, especially with coming to the realization their child just passed away.
    While getting further into the book, the book starts focusing more on the mother though, and I really wish it would have focused more on Maya: her childhood, laughter, the things she did, what she accomplished, etc.
    Overall is was an okay book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Unflinchingly honest and compelling

    This is a beautifully written mother's story, sharing her experience with uncertainty, loss, grief, and recovery. As a pediatric former ICU nurse who did transplant work, I recognized so many elements of the story, and their accurate portrayal. Her candor can be painful to read, but she takes the hit for single mothers everywhere who worry about failing their children in ways large or small, simply by being human.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Awesome....

    A heartbreaking read for any parent but brings to light the gifts of organ donation. Beautifully written from Eleanor's heart and soul.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Good book for helping with any stage of grief

    Started and had to finish in one fell swoop. I think this book should be one everyone Must Read list. It helped me and my mom's been dead for over thirty years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    This book was a very raw and gripping account of what the loss o

    This book was a very raw and gripping account of what the loss of a loved one forces a family, and mother, to face. Although the author's honesty about the heartwrenching grief she suffered made it hard to read at times, I couldn't put the book down. I am truly amazed by the author's writing ability and the amount of courage she must possess to publish the details of such a personal and difficult time in her life.




    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    Beautiful...

    Well written, emotionally raw and honest, and a beautiful memoir.

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  • Posted May 2, 2014

    Loved it!

    Eleanor Vincent wrote a memoir of her life that mirrored my grief as well. I was interested in reading it because of that. I also lost a daughter to a brain injury. I wanted to see how she got on with her life. It was also exceptionally well written. It was a bittersweet, loving tribute to her daughter that I wish I could write for mine.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    Heartbreaking story

    My heart just broke for Eleanor with the tragic loss of her child. I have never cried so much or felt so connected to someones story. God Bless Eleanor, may our ever loving lord continue to give her strength and a long over due sense of peace.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Couldn't put this book down

    Excellent writing. If you have ever lost a loved one, this book will hit home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Very good

    Very touching i like books lik this alot of moching ;)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews

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