Amanda Beard is one of those women you envy almost to the point of resentment: after all, she's gorgeous, talented, and has led what seems to be a pretty charmed life.
But once you get to know her, you realize that all of those things came at a price…and your envious resentment turns to flat-out awe. Her autobiography reveals the raw, pained side of her that the multitude of cameras never managed to pick up on.
For Amanda, the girl who became famous for winning medals in the Olympics at the tender age of fourteen, things were never as easy, breezy, and beautiful as it looked to the people on the sidelines. There's a reason she clung to her teddy bear between races…and it wasn't because Teddy needed the support.
Amanda actually fought off dyslexia, bulimia nervosa, depression, and a desire to self-harm, all while posing in tiny bathing suits for magazines. Talk about revealing but not revealing.
So in In the Water They Can't See You Cry (+10 points for an awesome title), Amanda reveals that side that none of us knew about. The side that led her to seek out harmful, controlling partners. The side that saw her fight so hard to do anything but feel what she was going through. The side that could have—but didn't—derail her successful swimming career.
Speaking of her swimming career, she's no slouch in the pool. She's won a total of seven Olympic medals (two gold, four silvers, and a bronze), as well as many other international competitions.
And, as if that weren't enough, she managed to parlay her swimming career into a modeling one, and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Playboy, and other well-known publications. This California girl may think she's an ugly duckling, but the world knows she's anything but.
So when books like this come along we tend to get really excited, because it's not often that someone who looks like the picture of perfection opens up and divulges all the skeletons hiding in their closet. She's a great role model for young women everywhere, proving that Olympic-caliber strength and all-too-human fragility can go hand-in-hand.