‘Find your tribe,’ she says. Finding your people is more important than what kind of house you live in. Decide whether you’ve found your tribe and go from there.’

Synopsis: Ruth Fitzmaurice lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland with her five children and her husband Simon. Simon has Motor Neurone Disease and can only communicate with his eyes. He need round the clock care and an army of nurses to help him get through each day. I Found My Tribe is an account of Ruth and Simon’s journey.

Ruth and her friends jokingly form a Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club whereby the meet regularly to plunge into the chilly waters of the Irish Sea all year round. Swimming is just one of Ruth’s coping strategies as she fights to preserve the strong but now silent connection with her husband. She also must navigate motherhood and deal with all the other challenges of life. Ruth shares openly and honestly with us throughout this inspiring book.

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We will do these things because pain never stops. One man’s defiance at the marina can change a moment. But a moment won’t save you. We all need saving again and again.

I spotted this book last week while browsing through a bookstore and in that short space of time it has positively exploded everywhere. It’s all I want to talk about, I can’t stop thinking about it, I’ve bought extra copies to give to people and I am delighted to hear from several bookshops that it is flying off the shelves.

If you want to find out the true meaning of words such as love, devotion, friendship and family read this. If you want to understand the term soul-mates, read this. Yes, there is much raw emotion obviously including fear, anger and sadness. But there is also plenty of unbridled joy, pride and strength evident here too.

This book highlights the realities of life in a manner that I have never witnessed before. The emotions and events appears in their purest forms and transcend the pages. Leave your sense of pity at the door when you open this book because it is not about that. This is an inspiring read that illustrates the constant struggle that we all face daily. Ruth Fitzmaurice’s journey is just one story out of billions but what makes it different is that she tells it in a courageous and honest manner.

There are plenty of laugh out loud moments and heartbreak as Ruth describes the many personalities that she has encountered within her life. She seems to have the spectacular ability to look into someones soul and encapsulate all that they are in words. This for me was the main strength of the book.

Undoubtedly when I sit down at the end of the year, I Found My Tribe will be regarded as one of my books of the year (along with The North Water). I won’t be on my own though as I have a feeling that this book will make many more books of the year lists.

I don’t believe we are just numbing ourselves in this sea. I look at my friends coping and surviving. Like the rolling of waves, the thrill of the dive, the rush of cold, they choose to stay unchained. This is a free as we can possibly be.’

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Afterthoughts

An invocation to all of us to love as hard as we can, and live even harder, I Found My Tribe is an urgent and uplifting letter to a husband, family, friends, the natural world and the brightness of life.

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