Shelf Awareness

Rockaway is a thoughtful memoir of loss, self-discovery and what can happen when you hang on, literally and figuratively, to a piece of wood adrift in the sea.”


“soulful … an empowering tale of confronting challenges to find new footing, on boards and in life.”

Publishers Weekly

“Readers don’t have to surf to be taken away by Cardwell’s story . . . a rich account of living through . . . disaster and rebuilding in its aftermath.”


“Cardwell’s moving story washes over the reader with its emotionally rich portrayal of the ragged ways we can embrace our vulnerabilities in order to overcome them.”

Library Journal

“Poignant. Written with a warm and conversational style, this is an unusual story of personal triumph, insight into what makes a community stronger, and a reminder that perceived limitations are often self-imposed . . . An offbeat, uplifting account.”

Kirkus Reviews

“In this eloquent narrative, the author offers a moving portrait of a woman in search of herself as well as a joyful celebration of physicality, friendship, and the art of surfing. A bighearted and uplifting memoir.

Tova Mirvis, author of “The Book of Separation”

“Diane Cardwell’s Rockaway is so invigorating that it makes you want to get outside, try something new, live more fully and freely. This story of a woman following her passion is an inspiring reminder about the possibilities of renewal and reinvention.”

William Finnegan, author of “Barbarian Days”

“Becoming someone new is hard work. Diane Cardwell does not stint. With a reporter’s eye for detail, and rare honesty, she pushes through heartache, self-consciousness, long-held fears, Hurricane Sandy, and innumerable walls of white water. Her progress toward surfing skillfully, love, and an unlikely community is a deeply satisfying ride.”