In this dark spiritual memoir, McGlynn tells how the unsolved execution-style murder of his closest friend and teammate on a high school swimming team sets the backdrop for a life that faces horrific losses and recoveries from adolescence to adulthood. A college-age conversion propels the author on a journey through a fundamentalist evangelicalism, replete with proselytizing mission trips and conservative mores, which ultimately fails to satisfy his spiritual quest. A second swimming-related tragedy leaves him doubting his beleaguered faith.
Years of graduate school limbo, marriage, and family life only bring exile from his parents, financial chaos, and the possibility of losing a newborn son, forcing him to further confront the nature of everything he believes. His ongoing commitment to swimming—his metaphor for faith—and his constant wrestling with defining that faith frame this coming-of-age tale. In the end, “The fundamentals endure, only without the fundamentalism.” (Counterpoint)