Reviews | Elena Stowell

Reviews for Flowing with the Go

“Elena Stowell’s ‘Flowing with the Go’ is a heartrending and inspiring read about one woman’s journey towards overcoming her grief by immersing herself in martial arts. This wonderful gem of a book chronicles the author’s struggle to move on after her daughter’s sudden death. She finds solace not just from her loving friends and family, but also from her coaches and gym mates as she dedicates herself to Jiu-Jitsu.

The book takes the reader through a variety of emotions. I felt Elena Stowell’s pain, her devastation after Carly’s death. I also felt her triumphs, her celebrations after each small victory and her dedication to Jiu-Jitsu. It is rare for me to get so immersed in a book that I would tear up after reading one passage and then laugh out loud at another a few paragraphs later. Elena’s writing is magnificent and her story is one that can inspire anyone who has ever had a devastating loss in their life, and is looking for a way to move on. The interspersed quotes, coming from popular culture, and classical and eclectic sources were a magnificent touch. The book is full of meaningful aphorisms that are capable of nudging every reader towards overcoming their own travails. ‘It’s OK to cry. just not on the mat,’ and ‘Celebrate small victories,’ are just some of the wise words the reader can take away from this book. Elena Stowell is a very talented writer and she is surrounded by fun, loving people, and a great source for inspiring quotes and circumstances. For some reason I can’t stop reading the section of the book containing Chuck’s memorable lines. Elena’s descriptions of life at the gym were fun, spot on and all the more interesting since it is from a woman’s point of view. She manages to turn anecdotes into vivid renderings, and to depict each person in her life with such loving flair. Great books are usually poignant, once-in-a-lifetime stories told by a talented writer. ‘Flowing with the Go’ fits the bill.”

– Eduardo Aduna for Readers Favorite

5 out of 5 stars. “Inspiring story of pain, loss, hope & recovery!: A moving story of pain, hope and recovery. The story starts with the gripping and heart-wrenching moments when Elena’s world came crashing down, as her daughter died suddenly and inexplicably in her arms while on a basketball trip. Then it moves into Elena’s initial grieving – wrought with social paralysis, taking a leave from her job as a high school science teacher, chronic sleeplessness, self-medicating with alcohol, and writing in her journal.

Through this physically and mentally demanding martial art, Elena moved from anxious novice to an expert able to compete in the World Championships and earn her blue belt. Along the way we gain insight into how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works, the camaraderie of a gym and the community around it.

Most importantly, we learn the story of Elena’s path to reconstituting her life to not only embrace the memory of her daughter but also to recognize each day as a stepping stone to something better.

I deeply recommend Flowing with the Go to everyone. We all have something to learn from Elena’s remarkable journey.”

– Brent Harrison for SmokeJumper

5 out of 5 stars. “It is ok to cry, just not on the mat! It is not often you find a book so well crafted that it grips you so hard that you can not put it down. Every review that has been written has given it 5 stars! A gripping and real story told by one very tough gal. You will cry and you will laugh and in the end you will be asking your self what happens next!”

– Brick for

5 out of 5 stars. “This book is very introspective, philosophical and totally amazing! A must read for anyone who has suffered a personal loss. The writing is an ‘easy read’ and draws in the reader chapter after chapter. I could’t put it down. I cried and laughed my way through to the last page.”

– Joann Kovaly for