Friday, November 06, 2009

Sea Change

What a disappointment! In Sea Change Peter Nichols recounts his journey in a small wooden boat across the Atlantic. The back cover hinted at adventure, disaster and insights into the reasons for his divorce. None of this was really delivered.

While I hoped for something like Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster that planted a strong interest in Everest climbs, this book just bored. Too often, without much penetrating insight Nichols rattles off all he experienced as he sailed his boat, the Toad across the ocean hoping to sell it after his marriage broke up. The voyage is complicated by a leak in the boat, but while that meant towards the end he couldn't sleep well, it was never the life or death situation I expected. The trouble that comes to a head doesn't appear till p. 205 and is resolved by 218..

Mixed in with the tales this journey are his thoughts reading his ex-wife's diary, his superficial understanding of his marriage and its demise, and probably tidbits on every interesting solo journey Nichols knew of. How I wished I was reading those books!

His writing style is subpar and I'm shocked Penguin published this. I'd just groan over phrases like: Instinctively, without thinking I . . . . Redundancy anyone? I admit I skipped whole paragraphs and skimmed the last pages because nothing essential was being said and I just wanted to finish..

This is one boat I wish I had missed.

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