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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of A Boy in the Water, written and read by Tom Gregory. 

Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for 12 agonising hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father. 

This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood. 

©2018 Tom Gregory (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"Written beautifully through the eyes of a child yet to enter his teens, A Boy in the Water resonated strongly taking me back to my own childhood. A fascinating story full of innocence, achievement, ambition and trust." (Ellen MacArthur)

"I am absolutely in awe; a mindblowing and phenomenal feat. A Boy in the Water will challenge ideas of what is possible." (Chrissie Wellington OBE)

"Reading this and it's extraordinary. The challenge and the exhilaration of open water swimming brilliantly evoked. A really different and interesting read." (Clare Balding)

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What listeners say about A Boy in the Water

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I wept

this was just an utterly beautiful book. I absolutely wept at the end, I'm so glad I read it.

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Good all around

Just a charming tale, well told. An absence of malice or ego sets it apart from the mainstream.

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Great book

Great book and what an achievement at such a young age. A record that will stand for ever.

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Such an incredible story

Whether you like swimming or not, whether you’re intrigued or enraptured by open water swimming or not, this is an incredible story. Children were allowed to be treated differently in the 80s. Life was a little less “politically correct”. This story is an insight into the benefits of the trust and freedom that we’re legacy of the time. A very good read.

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Fascinating & moving book about a great swim coach

Spellbound by this book and the bond between the swim coach and a remarkable boy

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Moving true story! unexpected twist at the end.

would recommend this to others. touching and truthful. give it a go. something a bit different.

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An amazing true story brilliantly told!!

This is such an amazing feat articulated perfectly. I loved the way Tom started each chapter telling us about the channel swim and what he was going through, and then drifted into telling us about his childhood and all the trials and tribulations that a young 7-11 year old goes through. Loved all the 1980’s nostalgia!!
I loved this book - he made me laugh and cry, a brilliant story!!

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loved it, made me laugh and cry.

Great story, brilliantly told by the author. highly recommended. made me laugh out loud and cry

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Atta boy

The story is epic and yet heartwarming. The author’s narration puts a lot of professional readers to shame. Superb. I was right there with you..brrr.

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A beautiful book

A wonderfully honest book, that I totally enjoyed. I’ve sent it to my friend and bought a copy for my mum.

One of the best little audiobooks I’ve listened to in a long time. I thought it both inspiring and emotional.