Cover image for Drawn to the rhythm : a passionate life reclaimed
Drawn to the rhythm : a passionate life reclaimed
Hall, Sara, 1953-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., [2002]

Physical Description:
285 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV790.92.H35 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Sara Hall's life seemed perfect: a wealthy husband, a big house in an affluent suburb, three healthy children. But the surface of Hall's life hid a marriage filled with sorrow and pain. One day, at age forty-two, Hall sees a lone figure rowing in the harbor, and that image becomes her holy grail.In this richly layered memoir, the author tells how her determination to master rowing a single shell gave her the courage to free herself from the dark forces of abuse in her childhood and the failure of her marriage. In lyrical prose, Hall describes the rigors of rowing, the elation of winning, the joy of total engagement in passionate enterprise, and the triumph of breaking free. Ultimately, she declares sovereignty over her life and wins a world championship gold medal. Drawn to the Rhythm is a brave and soulful book, written for all women who seek to find their strength and voice. Reading group guide included.

Author Notes

She is the 1998 World Masters Champion in the women's single shell. She has won numerous other rowing championships continues to row competitively. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Hall was pretty much a traditional housewife--husband, kids, a schedule that revolved around everyone but herself--until she realized that her lifestyle was seriously outmoded. In the mid'90s, when middle age was no longer a remote prospect, the author decided it was time to rediscover the woman she had, as a child, dreamed of becoming: strong, athletic, selfsufficient, a champion. At the time, her goal of becoming a competitive singleshell rower (a shell is a 10inch-wide, nearly 30footlong vessel that glides on the water) seemed ludicrously unlikely. Three years later, it was a reality. Along the way, Hall became reacquainted with herself and her dreams and eventually became a world master champion in her chosen sport. This is a deep book filled with insight and encouragement, and its wise words are not just for wouldbe athletes. It's a reminder that if we take the time to look, all of us can find out who we really are. -David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

"There is no greater terror or joy than to take the whole sum of who you are and express it in four minutes," writes Hall of racing a single-shell boat. In spring of 1995 Hall, a Long Island housewife with three children, experienced an epiphany when she observed a single shell moving on the water through the window of her car. This elegant and moving memoir recounts how she simultaneously fell in love with rowing and began moving away from a suffocating marriage wherein she was relentlessly belittled. Initially rowing before dawn in order to meet her husband's demands that she be available when he and their children awoke, Hall's love and talent for the sport caused her submissive attitude to wane. Offering lyrical descriptions of rowing, Hall details how she competed in and won master events (she is the 1998 World Masters Champion in the women's single shell). As she gained the approbation of fellow rowers, and her children (although not her husband) expressed pride in her ability, she discovered parts of herself previously hidden beneath the facade of dutiful wife. A move to Boston, because of her husband's job, led her to part-time work with a racing shell company and close contact with a rowing community. When Hall told her husband she was divorcing him, he launched a legal and emotional campaign of intimidation to dissuade her; she eventually moved out. Hall now shares child custody with her former husband and continues to find joy and freedom in competitive rowing. B&w photos. National radio/TV interviews. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 13
Chapter 1 First Racep. 19
Chapter 2 Being a Fishp. 33
Chapter 3 Mine Is to Servep. 46
Chapter 4 Falling in Lovep. 58
Chapter 5 Bathed in the Salty Watersp. 63
Chapter 6 Hearing the Voicesp. 89
Chapter 7 Heeding the Callp. 99
Chapter 8 The Shining Arrowp. 108
Chapter 9 Striking Goldp. 125
Chapter 10 The Edgep. 142
Chapter 11 Letting Gop. 154
Chapter 12 The Singlep. 162
Chapter 13 Moving Onp. 182
Chapter 14 Contactp. 198
Chapter 15 The Big Ap. 208
Chapter 16 Resolutep. 224
Chapter 17 Fire and Waterp. 241
Chapter 18 The Finalp. 264
Afterwordp. 275
Acknowledgmentsp. 283