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

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  1,471 Ratings  ·  344 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published April 7th 2009)
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Aug 17, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 24, 2011 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Serafini
A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure was an interesting book, I did enjoy most of it however the beginning of it was a little bit slow. When the beginning of the book is slow it always ends up taking me a longer amount of time then usual because I believe the book is that way the whole time. However, reading a few more pages a night would help with making the book become more and more interesting. The plot finally began to come and the use of descriptions came more often.
"This is one o
Aug 20, 2012 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 27, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Reporter: "If you aren't going to get any money out of this, are you after fame?"
Tori: "Can you name the first woman to climb Mount Everest?"
Reporter: [Silence]
Tori: "Her name was Junko Tabei. Can you name the first woman to ski to the North Pole?"
Reporter: [Silence]
Tori: "Her name was Ann Bancroft. Can you name the first woman to ski to the South Pole?"
Reporter: [Silence]
Tori: "A woman named Shirley Metz and I were the first women to ski to the geographical South Pole. We touched the pole at th
Feb 28, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2009 Map rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2012 Tyler Callahan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful woman vs nature story - Tori Murden McClure is a classic overachiever. She was the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, the first woman to ski to the South Pole, and a graduate of Smith, Harvard Divinity, and U of L Law school. Her story is amazing. The narrative is mostly about her first (failed) attempt to solo row the Atlantic (interrupted by one hurricane that hit her twice and finally brought to a halt by a second hurricane), interspersed with her autobiography. It is a ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2012 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
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
In November, Tori McClure came to my campus to give a talk. It was amazing, life-changing. I had the opportunity to speak to McClure afterwards, but chickened out. What could I say to a woman who ran a homeless shelter, hunted lions in Africa, attended Harvad School of Divinity, skied to the South Pole, worked in a special needs camp, and rowed across the Atlantic? "How do I get to do all the things you've done?" That's what I wanted to say. That was the night I gave in to Fr. Larry and Dr. Butl ...more
Aug 10, 2010 Therese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Kelly Kittel
Aug 22, 2013 Kelly Kittel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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!
Nick Wagner
Sep 18, 2012 Nick Wagner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
Jun 08, 2015 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It gave a lot of background information about why Tori decided to attempt this trip in the first place, and fantastic descriptions of the journey itself. I only wish the book had included pictures- I found myself often leaving the book to get on the internet and look up the boat, maps of the trip, the types of animals she was describing, etc.
Aug 09, 2009 Ileana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Webb Hubbell
Jul 10, 2017 Webb Hubbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story! McClure takes you on an improbable journey across the Atlantic and into he eye of a hurricane, both in a rowboat and in her life. A fantastic book on multiple levels.
Kristy Ann
Jan 15, 2017 Kristy Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this one down. I feel a kinship with the author on so many fronts - familial responsibility, physical adventure, theology, and personality.
Ellen Neill
Mar 17, 2017 Ellen Neill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book...! Tori had a dream...and she was determined to see this dream come true! The determination she had was unbelievable!!!
Joe White
Oct 09, 2012 Joe White rated it really liked it
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
Frank Kasell
Tori Murden McClure’s book, A Pearl in the Storm, is like the ocean; the shimmering surface offers beauty, mystique, and adventure, but it is in the vast depths beneath the surface where one finds the most unexpected and fascinating elements. On the surface, A Pearl in the Storm is a compelling narrative describing the author’s two adventurous attempts (one of which was successful) to become the first woman to row a boat across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. Beneath the surface, however, is a th ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Drew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of books, I love to read. When I found out we had to do a summer reading on Pearl in the Storm, I can say I was less than thrilled. Even before reading the book, I knew it wasn't my type of story, but I tried to give it a chance with the hope that the book would blow me out of the water. The book can be very hard to follow for those who don't know much about rowing. I found my self reading sections over and over again trying to figure out where she was in the boat or how something fit t ...more
Mar 18, 2016 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a little girl, we used to go to a lake for the summer where the local boys would show off by swimming all the way across. I had only just learned to swim and was pretty good at it – a natural. Looking out over the lake, I remember saying to my Dad, “I could swim half way...” My father, many times wise beyond his years, said, “Then you’d have to swim back, wouldn’t you?”
A Pearl in the Storm is an action-packed, page-turning story filled with multiple life-affirming metaphors, bits of w
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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
More about Tori Murden McClure...

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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.” 3 likes
“First the bad news. I am 980 miles from shore in a half-submerged boat without engine or sail. My body has been beaten to a bloody pulp. I have precisely one liter of fresh water. The good news is that I am alive.” 0 likes
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