Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler

Have you entered to win a copy of One Hundred Candles yet?

Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler and Jere Longman
William Morrow, March 2010

Summary from Goodreads:
A former college football star shares the harrowing story of the headline-making boating accident that left three of his friends dead, including two NFL players, a tragedy that he was only able to survive by clinging to the boat's propeller as he bobbed in the chilly waters of the Atlantic.
I picked this up because the summer reading committee at the local high school is considering this title for the final list. And, to be honest, my favorite nonfiction stories are about survival at sea. And because I vaguely remember hearing about this story as the events unfolded back in 2009, but never anything after that.

The story itself was pretty interesting. Four friends head out for a day of fishing and because of a series of mistakes and sheer bad luck, only one returns. The fact that all four of these guys are athletes and therefore extraordinarily fit and strong only adds to the confusion of how this could happen. The details that Nick remembers about his friends is at once heartening and horrifying. The descriptions of how Marquis, Cory, and Will suffered from hypothermia that presented itself as sheer madness were scarily realistic, and I have to give Nick kudos for his willingness to survive so he could make sure his friends' lives and deaths were properly documented. Nick's attachment to these men is evident throughout this book, and it's easy to see that this event still haunts him daily.

To be honest, though, I felt that the writing was pretty shoddy, and a lot of the language felt stilted to me. I did appreciate the newspaper articles and family interviews in between Nick's narration.

*I must confess that when I read "lost at sea" nonfiction, I always, always prefer reading tales of professionals--those whose livelihoods are made at sea--over people who are on the ocean for leisure purposes, although I can't really explain why I feel that way. However, I liked this story more than others I've read. I hope the reading committee approves it for the summer reading list--not only is it an action-packed story, but a powerful story of friendship.

Borrowed book from library.

Enjoy your reading!

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