Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story by Eleanor Vincent (A Review)

Raw.  Honest.  Painful to read.  Psychologically intense yet informative.  How Eleanor Vincent relived her story to share it with others is an amazing feat.  Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story is Eleanor Vincent‘s recounting of the tragic death of her daughter, Maya.

From Vincent’s vivid descriptions of Maya, the reader meets a beautiful young woman with her future waiting to be fulfilled.  On the brink of entering UCLA on a full scholarship to the Theater Arts Program.  Her dream come true.  Home from community college on spring break, Maya plans a day with friends at a local park.  Innocently, she and another young woman chance to ride a horse bareback, the ride ending in a tragic accident and sending Maya to a local emergency room.

Vincent has relived every memory of that day in Swimming with Maya and many beyond to bring this story to book form.  At times, it is almost too painful to read and yet her fluid writing style coupled with the joined hope between writer and reader that Maya will survive this accident pulls the reader on through each page and chapter.

Coupled with the telling of Maya’s story and her own is Vincent’s treatment of the organ donor program.  This coupling strengthens her explicit detailing of her personal story of love and loss.  Each vignette and scene allows the reader to become a witness to the agony of losing one’s child.  At the same time, Vincent shows us how she managed to eventually heal from this unbelievable tragedy.

Eleanor Vincent is masterful in her writing and story telling.  And she has shown that she was masterful in sustaining Maya’s life through miraculous gifts to others. Life becomes the winner in the end, showing death it cannot take away everything.

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Eleanor Vincent is an award-winning writer.  Her 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.  Read more . . .

18 thoughts on “Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story by Eleanor Vincent (A Review)

  1. Hi Sherrey,
    I was very touched by your review- such a heart wrenching read. My heart bleds for the mother who loses her child.


    1. Grace, Eleanor has truly given us a memoir that changes you before you’ve gotten halfway through it. And her writing style is an excellent one to learn from as we — I mean I continue working on my wip memoir.


    1. Madeline, I appreciate your lovely comments. Eleanor is an amazing woman, writer and survivor. Someone we could all take notes from, I believe.


  2. Sherrey, This is an excellent review of Eleanor’s heart-wrenching and brave story. I agree, Eleanor invites us into her world and under her skin as we experience a mother’s worst nightmare. But she also brings us to a place of hope and healing. A truly beautifully-crafted and courageous memoir.


    1. Kathy, thank you for your generous affirmation of my review. I agree that this is a truly beautifully-crafted and courageous memoir. As I sat writing my review, I asked myself could I be so courageous and giving of such a painful story. I’m not sure — my story is painful but not like this.


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