• Paperback: 256 pages
• Publisher: Grand Harbor Press (April 18, 2017)
For swimming champion Nancy Stearns Bercaw, the pool was a natural habitat. But on land, she could never shake the feeling of being a fish out of water. Starting at age two, Nancy devoted her life to swimming, even qualifying for the 1988 Olympic Trials in the fifty-meter freestyle event. But when she hung up her cap and goggles after college, she was confronted with a different kind of challenge: learning who she was out of the lanes.
In this honest, intimate memoir, Nancy reflects on her years wandering the globe, where tragic events and a lost sense of self escalate her dependence on booze. Thirty-three years after her first sip of alcohol, the swimmer comes to a stunning realization while living with her husband and son in Abu Dhabi—she’s drowning in the desert. Nancy looks to the Bedouin people for the strength to conquer one final opponent: alcohol addiction.
“A brave, honest, adventurous memoir that keeps you turning pages as Bercaw travels around the world and rediscovers what it really means to win…at life.” —Leigh Newman, author of Still Points North
If you like your memoirs steeped in humor and dressed in delicate subjects, you’ll enjoy Dryland. Most of the TLC Book tours I sign up for are for fiction, but I like to mix it up once in a while and I’m so glad I signed up to read this stirring story.
Nancy Stearns Bercaw took us on a whirlwind exploration of her deep truths and dark moments, while giving us bits of inspiration and positivity. That is to say that this was very well balanced, and though it could have been very depressing, it never reached that place.
Her sense of humor and use of a more literary style made this memoir stand out from others, and much more enjoyable. I felt like I learned about so many more subjects than just swimming, or just alcoholism, or just being alive. It was not only informative, but also relatable, in a way I really didn’t expect.
I’d absolutely read more by this author and hope that she explores the recesses of the human journey further. Thanks again to TLC Book tours and Grand Harbor Press for the review opportunity.
About Nancy Stearns Bercaw
Writer and national champion swimmer Nancy Stearns Bercaw is a seventeen-time NCAA All-American athlete and was inducted into the University of South Florida’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Her writing has appeared in publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Korea Herald, U.S. News & World Report, Abu Dhabi’s Tempo magazine, and ScaryMommy.com. In addition to Dryland: One Woman’s Swim to Sobriety, she is the author of Brain in a Jar: A Daughter’s Journey Through Her Father’s Memory and a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias. She lives in Vermont with her husband and son.
Find out more about Nancy at her website, and connect with her on