A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean
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A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  982 ratings  ·  302 reviews
"In the end, I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn't aware that it was missing."

In June 1998, Tori McClure began rowing across the Atlantic Ocean solo in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore but decided to forge ahead -- not knowing that 1998 would turn out to b...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published 2009)
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I wanted to hate this book. I felt that way even more when I had to find it in the Sports section under "Nautical". Book club selections were meant to open my mind to other types of reads. So, there I went digging in to page one....

I liked the overall message of this book. I liked the writing style of going back and forth, leaving me to feel like I was on the ride of her life. I felt like I had been ravaged by not one trip, but TWO.

However, I had a hard time liking HER. By the end, I felt for he...more
I truly enjoyed this memoir from local writer, Tori Murden McClure. Louisville has these large signs on the sides of buildings proclaiming hometown heros such as Muhammad Ali, PeeWee Reese, Diane Sawyer and "Kentucky's Colonel" Colonel Sanders. I used to pass the large poster proclaiming, "Tori's Louisville" everyday. However, I only recently found out she's recognized, she was the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

She's also reached the South Pole, served as development directo...more
May 26, 2011 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol by: publisher publicity
This is my kind of book. It's not only that I live vicariously through adventures such as this but that I also get a bang out of the determination, strength, and discipline exhibited by women such as Tori Murden McClure. Her goal; to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Building, determining supplies, and preparation of The American Pearl are interesting to read about. Fitting her 6ft frame into the confined space of her sleeping chamber, which she describes as the width of two co...more
In A Pearl in the Storm, Tori Murden McClure - the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic - attempts an inspiring autobiography-cum-adventure tale with (at least in terms of literary achievement) disastrous results. By attempting to live up to both standards, McClure splits her readers' attentions to little effect.

The more standard autobiographical section centers around McClure's troubles growing up poor, undereducated, and with the burden of being responsible for her younger, development...more
Tori Murden McClure is a darn amazing woman. As the current president of Spalding University here in Louisville, I had the opportunity to hear her speak once and was captivated by her two minutes at the microphone. Turns out not only is she a great speaker, but also a tough-as-nails, creative, adventuresome, intelligent, inspiring, and bonified crazy woman. This book details her attempt to become the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. I was awed by Murden McClure's resourcefulness, gut...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
This woman is AMAZING.

Hard core bad ass.

Decided to row across the Atlantic, yes,ROW, and has to abandon her boat after nearly being killed by a hurricane. She truly is brutalized by the ocean. I was wincing and cringing as she got tossed around in her little boat... I hurt for her!

Mission not accomplished. But wait! What does she do? Heals and goes back out and finishes what she set out to do. I kid you not. She nearly dies, but gets her buns back out there... amazing.

Her writing style/personali...more
I never ask why hardy souls attempt to conquer mountains, or go off into the woods with nothing but the clothes on their back and a few essentials, or row across the ocean solo. I understand that need to test personal limits, to drill down to the essence of individuality to discover just what stuff one's made of. Tori McClure set off to row across the Atlantic by herself. For a woman who constantly pushed herself to overcome and achieve the impossible, who had lived with overcoming obstacles her...more
Tyler Callahan
This book was bad. It was dry, long, uninteresting, and poorly written. It was dry because she spent way to much time just talking about her boat or other things that not the average reader would know or care about. If this book was meant for all the other rowers around then this would be understandable. But it wasn't. And just the style in which she wrote the books as boring, I found it hard to stay with her. It was also a very long book. She took almost 300 pages to simply say that she rowed a...more
I read this book for a summer reading for school, so from the beginning I wasn't too thrilled to start the reading.The beginning of this book completely drew me away from being "excited" to read it at all. I didn't think there would be anything in this book that could be interesting after i read that first chapter. And it gave me the exact feel i was expecting, since it was a summer assignment. But surprisingly as I continually read, it got to be a little inspirational and more inviting. She add...more
I read A Pearl in the Storm in a fast gulp. I could not go to sleep that night until Tori called for help in the hurricane and was pulled aboard the rescue ship. I love true adventure stories where exteame hardships are overcome and the protagonist is changed in unexpected ways. Pearl is extraordinary in that there are few women in this genre.
I’m, also, a woman who loves a man who loves boats, wooden boats in particular. Thus I appreciated the setting details of building and outfitting of The A...more
Amanda Harris
It was a struggle to get through this book. If you like nonfiction and adventure, then you may like this book. I felt it was self indulgent through most of the book and I had a hard time relating to a person who would almost get themselves killed just to do it all over again in order to prove they aren't helpless. In the end, I did appreciate the final understanding that helplessness is apart of being human and the most needed emotions the author showed by opening herself up to loving someone, t...more
When I tell people about his book, "Its the story of the first woman to row across the Atlantic," I always add, "But its a lot more interesting than it sounds."

This is more the tale of the first woman who FAILED to row across the Atlantic. She eventually made it, but the bulk of the story is her failed attempt. The sailing stuff is offset with a quick tour of the life that turned her into a woman of such fierce fortitude, focusing largely on her childhood, her disabled brother and the blood tha...more
Kelly Kittel
Devoured this book on beach in Maine and really enjoyed living vicariously thru Tori's journey, internal (overcoming the feeling of helplessness) and external, which this author has done to excess (um, lions?). And she seems to have a rather high tolerance for pain! Can't even imagine having a hurricane roll over me, or rather roll me over, and over and over and over. But I enjoyed reading about it happening to her. 100 foot waves? Add this to my list of "other things I'm never going to do." And...more
I loved this book. Stories about people at sea, like Coyote Lost at Sea and Right Now is Perfect fascinate me. Removed from the regular rhythms of life, the seafarer learns about a new world and is forever changed by the experience. In this case, author Tori Murden McClure decides to row across the Atlantic from west to east, the opposite of the "easy" way - east to west, which would be with the prevailing winds. While she is strong and capable, she gets caught in Hurricane Danielle halfway acro...more
Linda Francis
I found Ms. McClure's childhood to be somewhat sad. I hope as a society we are learning to treat people who are different from us better. What a good sister she was, trying so hard to stand up for her brother, and to take care of herself and others. I don't really relate to her drive for such unique successes, but I learned to empathize with her hardships and admire her journey. There were a few times during the book when I felt a little lonely out there in the middle of the ocean, just she and...more
Not sure just where I was in 1998 and 1999 when the events in this book took place. My usually good memory draws an absolute blank about the incredible adventure undertaken by the author in 1998 and the culminating achievement in 1999, noted worldwide, but somehow never got to my own personal corner of the world. It is a good thing to browse through the library's available e-books to find a good story to fill in my memory gaps. This book is not only a good story, it is a true story, though it wa...more
Every now and then I come across a book that has the power to hit me between the eyes and make me think thoughts that are deep and difficult and a little life altering. I found that in this book; which came at a perfect moment and connected to me in a way I didn't even know I was hungry for.

I can't explain most of my personal reasons for connecting to this story so well without giving away a large part of the story but in summary I can say this - sometimes life success is defined by our attitud...more
You have to be pretty crazy to try and row across an ocean during hurricane season. Murden McClure fits the bill. You could also call her brave, dedicated and foolhardy.

Despite her Harvard degree in Divinity, Murden McClure has some demons. And rightly so, you discover upon reading snippets from her past. Despite her social work, she is not good with people. You might expect an introvert to be into solo rowing, but working with the homeless? Kudos for her.

The reason I gave this book three stars...more
Nick Wagner
I personally, did not have any interest in this book. I had to read this book for college and i dreaded having to pick it up and attempt to read this book. This book just did not interest me and did not grab my attention. It started off very slow and i just could not get back into. Do not get me wrong, her accomplishments are great but I was not a fan of how the book was wrote and did not have any desire to want to read the book.
Pretty remarkable story! I love the image she portrays and embodies for all women. She is so brave and quite the character. I actually led a book group for this book this summer. The author of the book also visited the college. I was sad not being able to meet her but I did see her walking around talking to the main librarian and touring the campus.

This book is definitely worth the read and re-read for those contemplating it!
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
I loved this book! The author is an extraordinary woman. Her writing style is engaging, and her story was amazing, from her childhood experiences which helped form the person she became, to the actual trips across the ocean in a rowboat. She was lucky to survive, but she also survived because of her intelligence, her preparedness, her ingenuity, and her strength. A wonderful tale!
Feb 10, 2014 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Age 16 & up
Tori Murden McClure writes "A Pearl in the Storm" in a way that makes this non-fiction story engaging, relatable, and instructive. In addition to relating her harrowing experiences rowing across an ocean, she describes the childhood that shaped her. From her youth, she saw herself as her disabled brother's protector, and felt it was her responsibility to keep him "safe." She felt that too often she had failed at accomplishing this goal, and also at her efforts to protect the individuals in her c...more
A book about rowing?!!, that was my initial reaction when my hubby bought it for me. Tori's personal experience of rowing the Atlantic is inspirational and humbling at the same time. Truly moving and a must read!
Jen Selinsky
Let me start off by saying that "A Pearl in the Storm" is one of the most captivating books I have read in a long time. Let me also say that words alone cannot do this narrative justice. One has to read it to fully appreciate its fascinating tale and beautiful imagery. Tori Murden McClure is the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Though she had one failed attempt in 1998, she picked up a year later and successfully completed her journey. One could even say that she is a modern day Ody...more
Pif Hicks
I'm on a roll with great books right now. When I read the book "Wild", I was taken aback by the lack of preparation by the main character. The author of this book took you into her early childhood, high school and college years to help you understand her desire to push limits and she was always prepared or at least as prepared as one can be when setting off to cross the Atlantic in a wooden rowboat with a small cabin and limits on supplies because of their weight. I devoured this book in one 24-...more
Every rigorous journey is as much mental and emotional as it is physical. And as illuminated in Tori McClure’s memoir, “A Pearl in the Storm,” the more solitary and lengthy the journey the more one dwells in personal reflection, where mental/emotional demons can rise like rogue waves, threatening to capsize one’s faith – faith in knowledge, faith in preparedness, faith in a graciousness God. Being at the mercy of the Atlantic, in a rowing vessel, in a hurricane, capsizing repeatedly, having lost...more
Tori Murden McClure is a madwoman. I spent the first hundred or so pages of this book feeling really bad about myself because I, unlike the author, have not gone to Smith, wandered the streets of Boston assisting the homeless, become a nurse, worked for Muhammad Ali, graduated from Harvard, campaigned for the disabled, qualified for the Olympics, cavorted with the charming Ivy League elite, or - oh, yeah - rowed a wooden boat solo across the Atlantic (twice!), all by the age of 35. But hey, I've...more
Joe White
This is an autobiographical book featuring the pinnacle challenge of ocean rowing the North Atlantic, from west to east (US to Europe). Most of the rowing text is devoted to a northern attempt to row from North Carolina to Europe, which was ended by hurricane Danielle in 1998. This is very significant in that the attempt was to catch the Gulf Stream and use it as a push across much of the North Atlantic.

The route and result was very similar to the route of the Puffin, built for and rowed by Dav...more
In 1998, a woman named Tori Murden climbed into a homemade boat and set off to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In “A Pearl In The Storm,” she describes her attempt to row the Atlantic, but having to give up and be rescued after being caught in a hurricane. Feeling like a failure, she almost gave up the dream, but after a chance meeting with Muhammad Ali, he posed the question, “do you want to be known as the woman who almost crossed the Atlantic?” This fueled her desire to make a second atte...more
May 17, 2009 Seth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventurers
Recommended to Seth by: Amazon Vine
This book was formerly titled I Had To Row Across The Ocean, which is far more fitting than the title it currently bears. It's unmistakeably to the point and you know what kind of book you're getting into. But regardless, A Pearl In The Storm is a great inspirational read no matter the title, and honestly an unexpected jewel among nonfictional nature works. Who would have thought for a book about rowing?

To row across an ocean is quite a feat. Tori Murden McClure also skied to the South Pole, the...more
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Tori Murden McClure is best known as the first woman and first American to row solo and unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean. She was also the first woman and first American to travel overland to the geographic South Pole. McClure has completed major climbs on several continents. She is the President of Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as chaplain of Boston City Hospital...more
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“During dinner a sea turtle stopped by for a visit. At three or four feet in length... the turtle swam alongside for about twenty minutes, its head bobbing just above the surface of the water. Then with laughing eyes the turtle passed me..being left behind by a turtle pricked up my competitive nature. I pulled harder trying to keep up, but I couldn't catch the turtle. Soon I was reduced to laughter. " I am in the North Atlantic in a rowboat, racing a turtle...and loosing. Okay, so they can swim thirty miles an hour. Out here, I am the tortoise and it's the hare.” 2 likes
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