Friday, January 12, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: "Waterski Girl Wonder" by Shellie Blum

Waterski Girl Wonder
A Journey of Perseverance
- Shellie Blum -

A gripping personal tale
of tremendous triumph
over heartbreaking tragedy,
author Shellie Blum had
me hooked from page one.

The challenge I face in reviewing the debut memoir from former waterski pro Shellie Blum is that her story is so riveting, it's difficult to convey my enthusiasm without offering spoilers. But I'll do my best.

What I found so irresistible about Waterski Girl Wonder initially was the common ground I share with the author. Shellie and I are nearly the same age. We both grew up during the 1960s and '70s, and have lived in some of the same parts of the country — from Missouri's breathtaking Ozark Mountains to Florida's world-famous coastlines to the seedy streets of Hollywood. We also share similar strong family ties. Hence, as I mentioned, I connected to her story quickly and easily.

Simply put, Blum is a survivor. And in an engaging, transparent and conversational style, she reveals in short order how she developed early survival skills — fighting to overcome the challenges of birth defects, while dealing with personal family struggles. A seemingly natural-born competitor, Shellie was beating the boys (and anyone else who dared to get in her way) from the get-go.

Shellie Blum (center) performing
at Cypress Gardens during the '80s.
I assumed correctly that Blum's harrowing account of her near-life-ending waterski accident while at the peak of her professional career was the arch of her story. However, I also assumed that she'd probably "coast" through the balance of the book, merely recounting her painful journey through the recuperation and rehabilitation process. I was totally wrong. Despite the severity of her accident, and her agonizing road to recovery, the story's "WOW-factor" NEVER lets up. In fact, I refer to Blum as the "Timex Girl" for enduring physical beat down after heartbreaking beat down.

However, Waterski Girl Wonder isn't based simply on sensationalism. While Blum does share her personal experiences of enduring a multitude of accidents, injuries and other personal setbacks in graphic, edge-of-your-seat detail, what spoke to me most were the portraits she paints of the people who she encountered along the way. In sum, come for the sizzle, but stay for the story.

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)


Shellie Blum online:
- Amazon -
facebook -

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Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!


C'MON! -

(Coming April 7, 2019)

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