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Laura DeSisto
A true story of female friendship, adventure, heartbreak and finding purpose beyond motherhood. One morning Laura DeSisto woke up and realized her kids were gone and they weren't coming back. Worse still, the ungrateful bastards had taken her sense of purpose and identity with them. Her empty nest felt like a bottomless pit. It had swallowed her whole. An impromptu scuba diving trip to the Bahamas was the catalyst for enormous change and growth in her life. With biting humor and vivid detail, she recalls hair-raising encounters with man eating sharks, the death of a friend who had become more like a sister and the aftermath of the most powerful hurricane in Bahamian history. Through fast-paced storytelling and sharply drawn characters, the author has woven her experiences into a narrative that reads more like fiction. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this story will stay with you long after the final page.
DeSisto debuts with a moving blend of excitement, heartache, and self-discovery in this touching memoir. Years after growing up as an adventurous and daring child, and then raising several herself, DeSisto found herself without purpose when her children grew up and left home. After painful introspection, and dismay at losing the tenacity of her youth, she rekindled her love of the ocean—“[it] was my first love and I fell hard and fast for it”—and found in it a catalyst for self-transformation. DeSisto recounts how, on a seeming whim, she signed up for a scuba diving class. That choice kickstarts an astounding journey–and she chronicles the events of that journey, both painful and inspirational, in graceful and elegant prose.

DeSisto’s story is subtle but powerful, and her experiences will ring true with readers who have endured daunting transitions in their own lives. With her two best friends at her side, and a reluctant husband who eventually agrees to take up scuba diving, too, despite not knowing how to swim, DeSisto eventually earns the distinction of a certified Open Water Diver, a substantial achievement, given her intense fear of sharks. She candidly shares that fear, and several shark encounters that both fuel it and leave her with a sense of awe at the immense wonder of the ocean, as she guides readers through the nuts-and-bolts of her diving progression.

Scuba diving only scratches the surface of this memoir: DeSisto masterfully immerses readers in the ebbs and flows of her life, covering stunning victories alongside breathtaking loss, always with the ocean beating a steady rhythm in the background. As she and her friends navigate health crises, failed marriages, and even natural disasters, she circles back to her faith in God and the importance of healing from gruesome experiences, poignantly writing “I am a mother, a sister, a shark diver, a writer of books, a child of God. I have resurfaced.”

Takeaway: This story of painful transitions and victories will resonate with readers seeking self-transformation.

Great for fans of: Alison Wright’s Learning to Breathe, Glynnis MacNicol’s No One Tells You This.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A