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About the book
  • Published: 6 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9781473547360
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 224

I Found My Tribe

A beautiful and heart-breaking account of how Ruth Fitzmaurice found a way to carry on living in the face of tragedy

‘I Found My Tribe is inspiring, humbling and a picture of what love really looks like’ Marian Keyes

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.
Ruth’s tribe are her lively children and her filmmaker husband, Simon, who has Motor Neurone Disease and can only communicate with his eyes. Ruth’s other ‘tribe’ are the friends who gather at the cove in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, and regularly throw themselves into the freezing cold water, just for kicks.

‘The Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club’, as they jokingly call themselves, meet to cope with the extreme challenges life puts in their way, not to mention the monster waves rolling over the horizon.

‘Fitzmaurice tells her story in sparkling prose that is as sinewy as her new sea-strengthened body, and as admirable and boundless as her spirit’, Sunday Times

Uplifting and life-affirming’ Stylist

  • Pub date: 6 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9781473547360
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 224

About the Author

Ruth Fitzmaurice

Ruth Fitzmaurice was a radio researcher and producer when she married her husband, Simon, in 2004 and had three children. In 2008, Simon was diagnosed with ALS and given three years to live. Simon went into respiratory failure in 2010 and was accidentally placed on a ventilator during an emergency procedure. He decided against medical advice to keep the ventilator; Ruth and Simon went on to have twins in 2012. She lives in Greystones, Ireland, with her five children, two dogs and two cats.

Praise for I Found My Tribe

“One of the year’s most arresting, humbling and acute memoirs. It is a catch-in-the-throat, life-affirming work that you want to gulp down in one and recommend to all your friends. Fitzmaurice tells her story in sparkling prose that is as sinewy as her new sea-strengthened body, and as admirable and boundless as her spirit”

Helen Davies, The Sunday Times

“I Found My Tribe is written with such lightness of touch that it’s life-affirming, powerfully so. Yes, sometimes I was breathless from stabs of pain, but this book reads almost like poetry. In beguiling, luminous words Ruth tells her story in a seemingly scattergun way… as the overall picture builds up like a mosaic made from shiny beautiful things… I Found My Tribe is inspiring, humbling and a picture of what love really looks like. An astonishingly beautiful book by an astonishingly beautiful person”

Marian Keyes

“Uplifting and life-affirming, this is a manifesto to live as hard and as well as you can”


“A powerful, emotional, poetic, funny, philosophical and courageous work of art ... a joyful, raw, urgent invitation to her readers to 'just dive' -- into the sea, and into life. Dive in, she urges, no matter what horrors life flings your way”

Irish Times

“Ruth Fitzmaurice's beautiful book is an enraptured cry at life's gifts and griefs ... Life-affirming and full of love, this book is a clarion call to live life to the full: to dive in for a swim and be brave”

Book of the Month, Psychologies Magazine

“Fitzmaurice's brilliantly lyrical ear and gentle humour makes this a none-too-distant relative to the likes of Joan Didion and Cheryl Strayed”

Irish Independent

“A vivid and beautifully written work, that chronicles a life of joy and frustration and coping and celebration and swimming against the tide and all those points in between”

RTE Guide

“This debut is set to become a global bestseller -- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly meets Calendar Girls, with a splash of Roger Deakin. It is one of a number of recent books by women riding the crest of a wild-swimming wave. Fitzmaurice's memoir, though, is likely to be the one that exerts the greatest tidal pull”

Helen Davies, The Sunday Times

“Deceptively simple prose, laced with clever imagery, emotional complexity and heart”

Róisín Ingle, Irish Times

“A moving memoir of family life, coping with her husband's motor neurone disease and the icy joys of wild sea swimming”

Best Non-Fiction, Good Housekeeping

“She has managed to distil emotional hardship against a mundanely challenging domestic backdrop into something full-bodied and, at times, gorgeously spirited without ever seeming to force either the sincerity of her voice or her clippy, musical style”

Hilary A White, Irish Independent

“Fitzmaurice’s book is as poetic as it is devastating, exploring thoughts of suicide and murder at the same time as being life-affirming and even occasionally funny. It is a love letter to her husband, an homage to the sea and a tribute to the power of friendship of one woman’s fortitude in the face of a cruel fate”

Verena Vogt, Yorkshire Post

“An inspiring and beautifully written account of family life through a serious illness”

Today FM

“Lyrical and moving”


“Ruth Fitzmaurice’s crazy, joyful, heartbreaking, romantic, raw and honest memoir is a work of art made from the heart. It swells with great love, high drama as well as hijinks, deep sadness and raw emotion… Sprinkling magic and stardust in prose that is far from sentimental, not afraid to confront the real and the raw”

Donal O'Donoghue, RTE Guide

“A beautiful and often times devastating tribute to her family, her friends and the healing power of nature”

Irish Country Living

“Moving… If you love a triumph-over-adversity real life tale, Ruth is your gal”

Muddy Stilettos

“An exceptional and beautifully written book about how love - changed but yet unchanged - friendship, frustration, deep despair and delight, can all be experienced in the same day...If you buy one book this summer, make it this one”

Irish Times

“Absolutely brilliant… I highly recommend it – inspirational”

Sean O'Rourke, Today with Sean O'Rourke

“Uplifting and inspiring”

Woman & Home

“As poetic as it is devastating”


“Like the sea, the writing in this terrific debut is both bracing and beautiful”


“Like the Irish sea that laps the coast at Greystones, Co Wicklow, this extraordinary, beautifully written book ebbs and flows with love amid the crises of daily life… It’s a powerful, memorable and life-affirming read”


“A heartbreaking work of shimmering beauty that charts her own place in the world… As astounding as it is inspirational”

Donal O'Donoghue, RTE Guide

“This is far from a desperate tale and a plea for pity. It is an often uplifting and funny account of learning to dealing with hardship and how resilient and adaptable we can be in testing times”

Jude Brosnan, Wanderlust Travel Magazine

“A true-to-the-bone and life affirming account of her life with a husband with MND, 5 young kids and her addiction to swimming in the Irish sea every day”

Al Porter, Today FM

“Her beautiful, sparse prose gets to the very essence of what is happening with the various tribes. It is a moving book too, with several poignant moments. She is one tough lady”

Paul Cheney, Nudge

“If ever there was a lesson in living the fullest, most passionate life you can, this is it! I Found My Tribe is one of the most moving memoirs I have ever read. Living with her husband Simon, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease and her five children, Ruth Fitzmaurice writes so honestly and vividly about her family's life that you will think about the Fitzmaurice's long after you have turned the final page. It is beautifully written with clever descriptions and vivid imagery that will take your breath away. Writing to the background noise of Simon's medical machines, twenty four hour carers and five children, Ruth candidly writes about her life as she navigates various different themes including grief, friendship and love and the strength she has in the face of adversity… I found my tribe is an uplifting powerful memoir that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. I urge everyone to read it”

Adele O'Neill, Irish Independent

“Beautiful…There is huge passion in Fitzmaurice’s writing.”

Sophie White, Image Magazine

“A surprisingly uplifting read”

Arifa Akbar, Observer

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