This is one of those books that reads as though it has been focus grouped. We all know that women should do more sport; we all know that women love a Bridget-Jones-esque self-deprecating narrator. And lo, we are given Alexandra Heminsley, who writes encouraging books about taking up sport with Bridget Jones-style humour. Her last one, Running Like a Girl, documented her journey from barfly to marathon runner; this one follows her progress from spluttering swimsuit-phobe to hardy sea swimmer.
Heminsley is at pains to present herself as an unintimidating, sport-fearing everywoman. Her message is that if even she can do it, then so can we. So in the first few chapters we are told at length about her hopeless terror of the water (she has lived in Brighton for five years and has never gone for a swim), and treated to a five-page description of her struggle to put on a wetsuit. Her first swimming lessons are anxiety inducing and utterly exhausting. The fact that she is clearly a ferociously determined sportswoman who has run several marathons is glossed over, or presented as a disadvantage, as her legs are “heavy with muscle”.