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A Door in the Ocean

A Memoir

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


On a warm September night in 1991, in a quiet neighborhood north of Houston, Texas, David McGlynn’s closest friend and teammate on the high school swimming team is found murdered on his living room floor. As the crime goes unsolved and his friends turn to drugs and violence, McGlynn is vulnerable, rootless, searching for answers. He is drawn into the eccentric and often radical world of evangelical Christianity—a journey that leads him to a proselytizing campus fellowship in Southern California, on a mission to Australia, and to Salt Lake City, where a second swimming–related tragedy leaves him doubting the authenticity of his beliefs.

In his post–evangelical life, he finds himself exiled from his parents, plunged into financial chaos, and caught off–guard by the prospect of fatherhood. A new job offers hope for a new beginning, until the possibility of losing his newborn son forces him to confront the nature of everything he believes.

The memoir’s concluding chapter, which appeared in The Best American Sports Writing 2009, celebrates the author’s love for swimming, the enduring metaphor for his faith and the setting for many of his life’s momentous occasions. Rough Water charts the violent origins of one young man’s faith and the struggle to find meaning in the midst of life’s painful uncertainties.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 06, 2012 – When McGlynn’s close friend and high school swim teammate Jeremy is murdered "execution-style" on a fall evening in Texas in 1991, the young man is left floundering to make sense of the tragedy. In this heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, McGlynn (The End of the Straight and Narrow, a story collection) details his emotionally grueling journey. Of the days before the killing, he writes that "It was the last time ordinariness would feel, well, ordinary." McGlynn candidly explores his struggle to come to terms with his own shameful revelry in the resulting attention lavished upon him by classmates and the likelihood that the crime would go unsolved, and describes his eventual adherence to evangelical Christianity, whereupon he took a vow of celibacy and assumed the mantle of missionary. McGlynn recounts his ongoing commitment to swimming (he describes "the water like a drug") and his constant wrestling with his faith, but after another tragedy, he would find himself searching yet again. Although the narrative is slowed by extraneous detail, McGlynn is an astute observer of relationships, and proffers insightful commentary on the power of memory to simultaneously burden and enrich the present. Beyond that, the sheer ease of his prose and the honesty of his journey are enough to keep readers moved and moving.

Customer Reviews


Unflinchingly honest and courageous. Great read.

A Door in the Ocean

Inspiring on so many levels.

A Door in the Ocean
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 08, 2012
  • Publisher: Counterpoint
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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