I really enjoyed this book. Despite the fact that I have absolutely no interest in crew, the novel captivated me throughout. I especially liked how Brown focused on the backstories of the rowers, specifically Jim Rantz, a poor but ambitious young rower who was abandoned by his family at a young age. The concept of the book is stirring and can be applied to many aspects of life. The idea of a rag-tag group of young boys from troubled backgrounds taking on the rowing world run by elitists is uplifting. Even more so are the ideas of teamwork and persistence. The maturation process of the group of boys is beautiful to witness, as you can almost feel their collective struggle to live up to their potential.
The only complaint I would have about this book is that it is somewhat prolonged. However, I feel as if the length is warranted to some degree. The novel I believe is meant to feel monotonous at some points, as this was the nature of the boys’ progression from talented youngsters to undisputed world champions. This book is extremely inspiring, and I have found myself referring back to it in times of adversity as its lessons are so applicable to life’s trials and tribulations. The rowing itself and the plot of the novel are ultimately secondary to the message of teamwork and a drive for excellence. Overall the novel is a somewhat lengthy, but extremely engaging, highly motivational, and makes for an exceptional read.