By Casey Legler
Atria Books, July 10, 2018
As a little girl, Casey Legler scrawls on a piece of paper two phrases that she folds and keeps with her: Never let people know what you are thinking and Loving is not allowed. Desperate for connection, even as a child, she follows her older sister to swim team practice where, upon her first dive into the water, she discovers a powerful, innate athleticism.
Her raw talent plunges her into a life of further isolation—a life of cheap hotels and chlorine-stung skin, anonymous sexual encounters and escalating drug use. Even at what should have been a moment of triumph—competing in the 1996 Olympics—she is an outsider looking in, tasked with buying drugs for her fellow Olympians, and losing her race after setting a new world record in practice.
After submitting to years of numbing training, Casey recognizes the debilitating sense of apartness that has swelled and festered inside her, and just how deep her darkness has become. Yet, wondrously, she sees a small light within herself, and senses a point of calm within the whirlwind of her life.
This memoir, completed prior to Casey’s diagnosis, provides an unforgettable window into the mind of a young person on the Autism spectrum. Written in searing, evocative, and astonishing prose, Casey Legler gives language to loneliness in this startling story of survival, defiance, and of the embers that still burn when everything else in us goes dark.
"Godspeed is a memoir for our times—an urgent, hypnotizing account of growing up and growing into ones skin under extreme circumstances. As brutal and original a telling as I can remember— of loneliness, of coping until the center cannot hold. There is darkness here but in Casey Legler’s deft hands it serves the light. A cut-to-the-bone blues song in chapter form, these pages are touched, as she is, with lightning." -- Michael Stipe)
“Reading Godspeed is an experience as invigorating, beautiful and punishing as standing under a waterfall. Legler is an unflinching chronicler of light and darkness, loneliness and embodiment, and the deep enchantments of sensation.” -- Helen Macdonald, author of H Is For Hawk
"A coming-of-age drama captured through poetic prose and convincing honesty." -- Kirkus
About the Author
Casey Legler is an artist, restaurateur, model, and former Olympic swimmer. Born in France to expatriate American parents, Casey grew up in Provence, and went on to swim for France in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The first women signed to Ford Models to exclusively model men’s clothes, Casey has been featured in Vouge, Le Monde, and Time. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, graduated cum laude from Smith College, and currently divides her time between New York and Sydney, Australia with her wife, Siri May.