DiscoverNew Adult

Being First, Comes Second


Must read 🏆

Four friends who parted ways 10 years ago are brought together by the act of destiny to recreate a high school swim team record.

Set in 1974, 'Being First, Comes Second' is a heart-warming novel that deals with more than just the sport of swimming. Ben Robinson is an introverted individual who is comfortable in his own company. He leads a simple but content life. The story opens up to a tense scene between Ben and his love interest Mo, who laments his lack of solicitude. His reserved persona effectuates friction in their relationship and it continues to be a cause of bother for him.

But one day, he receives a letter from his alma matter and it brings about a flood of emotions as he reminisces about the time when he and his friends made headlines by setting a medley relay record. He takes us on a trip down his memory lane and for the majority of the novel, we get to witness how it all started. Ben, Brian, Stan, and Randy share a beautiful camaraderie that could make even the thickest of friends jealous. By juxtaposing the events of past and present, we get to see how far each of them has matured over time.

Personally, I have zero knowledge about competitive swimming and when I picked up the book, I was genuinely worried whether I'd be able to follow the narrative. But Timothy does a pretty good job of elucidating the intricacies of the sport without digressing from the story. It wouldn't take long for you to get familiarized with it and I wouldn't blame you if you develop an affinity for the sport after reading the book. The simplicity of the plot is overshadowed by the intensity of emotions it manages to pack. It's has a beautiful mix of elements like love, loss, swimming, regrets, family values, longing, etc. The character curve of Ben is arguably one of the best I've come across in a novel. He reminded me of myself and I was able to relate to him on a deeper level. The final few chapters hit close to my heart and I hope it impacts you the same way it did for me.

If you have never read a book based on the sport of swimming, you might as well start with this one. It'll be a totally new experience and you'll end up liking it more than you intended to.

Reviewed by

On a break from reading. Going through depression/existential crisis. Trying hard just to stay alive. Won't be active for another 10 months.

About the author

Timothy James Riley arrived on the author scene at the relatively late age of 52. That was more than 21 years ago. Riley has also published a NF self-help guide and a historical fiction titled "They Call Him Skinner." He and his wife of 53 years, Penny, currently reside in Fresno, California. view profile

Published on June 08, 2020

Published by

40000 words

Genre: New Adult

Reviewed by