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Ten Degrees of Reckoning: The True Story of a Family's Love and the Will to Survive
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Ten Degrees of Reckoning: The True Story of a Family's Love and the Will to Survive

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  395 ratings  ·  107 reviews
A profoundly powerful and inspirational memoir. In 1993, Judith and Michael Sleavin and their two children set out to live their dream: to sail around the world. But one night, a freighter off the coast of New Zealand altered its course by a mere ten degrees. And changed everything. After surviving forty-four hours in the water, with a back broken in several places and par ...more
272 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Putnam Adult (first published November 11th 2007)
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Jennifer
Brief Description: In 1993, Judith and Michael Sleavin and their two children, Ben and Annie, set out to live their dream: to sail around the world. But one night, a freighter off the coast of New Zealand altered its course by a mere ten degrees and caused catastrophic damage to the Sleavin’s sailboat. With her son Ben immediately lost, Judith, Michael and Annie struggled to survive through the night. Only Judith made it—surviving 44 hours in the water, with a back broken in several places and p ...more
Kerry Campbell
This is one of those stories of tragedy at sea that that is hard to read. As a coastal sailor familiar with this unforgiving part of the coast it is somewhat of a miracle that Judith Sleavin washed up just where she did.
The horror of the moment of separation with her husband and little girl I found difficult to read.

As I read this book some time ago, the details have escaped me but something of personal interest is that I know one of the Police officers that was assigned to join in the search fo
...more
Andy
The basic story is riveting, but I did not enjoy the writing at all.

The gist: Woman loses her family in a shipwreck, but she beats amazing odds to survive.

It was written by a radiologist and boy can you tell. At times, I thought it was endearing to hear the story through a friend's voice, but ultimately we got less close to the subject because of it. She dwelled on meaningless details and blew past (or omitted) meaningful ones.

Normally I'd shrug my shoulders, but I got increasingly annoyed beca
...more
Faith
A sad, yet remarkable, true story. One of the reasons for writing this were to make people aware of Maritime issues. The book does this without being boring to a non-sailor/cruiser. The writing is simple and clear, and without sensationalism.
Marie
Ten Degrees of Reckoning is the true story of a family's love and the will to survive. In it, the Sleavin family set out to sail around the world. While on the journey, a tragic event leaves Judith, the mother, injured and alone in the ocean, after the rest of her family perishes. The story focuses on her rescue and survival as well as the horrific circumstances surrounding the sinking of their sailing vessel, the Melinda Lee.

Overall, I liked this book. The story was compelling and interesting
...more
Donna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
After sailing the world for three years with their two young children, Mike & Judy Sleavin's sailboat was rammed in the middle of the night and only Judy survived. I don't think that's a spoiler because all this information is on the book jacket! Twelve years later, Judy asked her close friend Hester Rumberg to write the story. Hester is actually a radiologist in Seattle but she is also a very gifted writer. I particularly liked the way she handled the details of the loss of Mike & Ben & ...more
Jan
Ten Degrees of Reckoning is the true story of one family that realized their dream of taking their sailboat on a trip around the world until, one dark and stormy night, a series of bad decisions by one freighter lead to tragic consequences.

This book is an absolute tearjerker. The story itself will leave you speechless; the lack of justice that followed the tragedy will make you angry. But I still found myself heartened by the family's journey, all the things they got to see and experiences they
...more
Everet Seeley
A true and heart breaking story about the Sleavin family (Michael, Judith and their two children) who set out in 1993 to sail around the world. One night off the coast of New Zealand a freighter altered its course by ten degrees resulting in a collision with the sailboat. After nearly two days in the water Judith miraculously survived the ordeal with a broken back and paralyzed from the waist down. It took her twelve years to finally ask her best friend Hester Rumberg to write her story. Very tr ...more
Jonathan Malone
Just telling the facts, just giving the minimum details to an event does not always make for a good story. Actually is seldom makes for a good story. Case in point, Hester Rumberg’s non-fiction work, Ten Degrees of Reckoning: A True Story of Survival. In this work Rumberg retells the harrowing events of the Sleavin family, the tragedy that befell them while they were at sea, and the mother’s (Judith Sleavin) struggle to survive and reclaim a sense of life. It is a powerful and gripping story tha ...more
Stuart Dickson
1.What was interesting about the book?
This book was interesting because it showed a story about a sailing family which collides with another ship and wrecks not only the boat but also kills the husband, and both kids. This part was very intriguing because every page I wondered what would happen next. I found it especially interesting hearing about her recovery and what she did to help others out so that the sea is a safer place. Also, the book had more meaning to just the crash and recovery that
...more
Cheryl
A riveting story of courage and survival. While I agree that the writing could have been better, the story carried me over it with little or no trouble. I'm thankful the story was told and that I had a chance to read it.
Lennie
The Sleavins were an American family sailing around the world in their boat, the Melinda Lee. After three years they were finally nearing their New Zealand destination but the night before they were to reach their final port, a South Korean shipping vessel collided with them causing their boat to sink and leaving them to fight for their lives as they clung to a dinghy. This shipping vessel failed to stop and help this family, instead they just continued on their way even though they were aware o ...more
Lizzy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helen
Judith Sleavin is one of the most incredible people I've had the pleasure of knowing, while she lived in New Zealand. Needless to say, I'm aware of what she has been through since this tragedy and the healing that writing this story brought to her. However the book felt to me as if the writer didn't want to dwell too much on the actual incident, which I felt took something away from the story being told.
Mrs.Lady
I met Judy and her family years ago - how sad this tragedy happened - her courage and perserverence to survive so incredible. I had heard of what happened but just a few weeks ago discovered this book had been written. I lost my husband who passed very unexpectedly and many times when I was bottoming out in grief I would think about the cruising lady who lost her boat and family wondering how sher could have willed herself to survive. I wish I could tell her how many times over the years I had t ...more
Jill
Away from home for almost 3 years, the Sleavin family had been sailing throughout the Pacific and Caribbean on a cruise of a life-time, in their boat the Melinda Lee. Mike and Judy, and their two children, Ben and Annie, were heading towards Opua in the North Island of New Zealand when tragedy struck. An unidentified freighter struck their yacht and sailed on, abandoning the Sleavins to their fate.

Ten Degrees of Reckoning is the true story of how Judy Sleavin survived the accident and rebuilt he
...more
Linda Appelbaum
This is a harrowing, tragic story of enormous loss and sorrow. It haunted me all day long and even at night. It is well told, and even though the descriptions aren't finely tuned, somehow I saw the described events with such clarity that it was profoundly disturbing.

I am not familiar with sailing so a diagram of the boat would have been helpful to me. Having almost finished the book, I learned a lot about sailing, the laws concerning open water travel and safety, etc. What keeps annoying me it t
...more
Val Wilkerson
I learned that no matter what happens to you, you can continue on with your life, you can survive, and you can make something good come out of something terrible.....even though it may take a long time. This is a true story of a woman who survived after a freighter rammed the sailboat she was on with her husband, daughter and son. they had been sailing for 3 years. The freighter changed its course 10 degrees and changed her life forever, and took the lives of her family. A very close friend of J ...more
Jane Burger
True story about a family of four sailing around the world. After almost 3 years at sea, and only 30 miles from their next destination, the boat was struck by a careless log freighter who after hitting them, left the scene offering no help to the sinking sailboat. The results were devastating. The story is mostly about the aftermath of the crash, told by the mom, the only survivor. It deals with both her physical and mental rehabilitation as well as her efforts in trying to seek justice for her ...more
Feline401
I read this book years ago and i still talk about about it. I was so absorbed in it. It had a lasting effect. My heart really goes out to the mom who is courageous, persevering and strong. I still wonder what her life is like now. I just purchased a used copy so that I can share it.
Courts!x
I loved this book because its about my cousins uncle and how he saved this lady after she lost her family in a ship accident. This book is such a sad tragedy and it shows you how to be positive and carry on living life. The lady owns a fancy glass shop in Whangarei. She inspiring! I decided to read this book because my cousin and Aunty said it was a good read and i wanted to get the full story. This book has a female main character from the bingo board. I didnt like how the Author tried to put h ...more
Donna
Great modern day memoir of a terrible family tragedy. I appreciate Judith letting us share in this story. I appreciate Hester Rumberg for writing this book. Much love to both.
Michelle
judith sleavin's story is so harrowing, it's painful, and nearly impossible to read. but you should. her family is living a dream, sailing around the world, when a cargo ship steers a mere 10 degrees of course and rams into them, killing her husband and children. this isn't a spoiler - you know from the outset this is what happens, and rumberg's lead-up to the accident is gripping and beautiful. judith's memories of what happens in the aftermath of the crash are clear and brutal, but her spirit ...more
Jan
This was a fascinating book. I had no idea there were so many families traveling the open seas. Their lifestyle is full of culture, geography, boating, and family closeness.

The story is well told and the lifestyle is explained clearly. The court proceedings get a little boring, but again, it's part of the story to understand how political and dishonest things are in the world.

Ultimately, the ship that caused the accident never said they were sorry. The compassion I have for this woman and her f
...more
Katrina Reid
The first half of the book is fascinating as it follows the experiences of a family's three year adventure sailing around the world. The middle of the book is intense when the Sleavin's sailboat is hit by a freight boat miles off the north island of New Zealand, causing the boat to sink along with their young son, Ben. The remaining family members are tossed in the frigid waters of the sea and Judy resolves to survive at all costs to tell her story. The book is well written. It slows during the ...more
Patricia
Nov 13, 2012 Patricia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Patricia by: Wendy L.
Wow. At the beginning of the book I felt as though it was taking so long to become interesting. I don't know anything about boats so once I felt a bit more familiar with the wording, I could become familiar with the characters. The family sounded (and looked) so happy and "carefree." The children were loved and taught with such great care. The traumatic events that followed really made me feel for Judy. I couldn't imagine living through those events. I would hope to be as strong as she was and h ...more
FloJ
I only read this because it is my bookclub read for the month. I can still remember the newspaper articles at the time of the accident and periodic updates over the years. Plus I heard Hester and Judith interviewed on the radio only recently. It is a tragic story, and Judith's mental survival one can only marvel at, but for me this book adds nothing to the debate.
It is a quick read, has been padded out by stories of Hester's own sailing which I suppose establishes her credentials for the writing
...more
Leslie
Heart-breaking in subject, matter-of-fact in tone, Ten Degrees.. tells the story of the Sleavin family's tragic collision with a South Korean container ship and the aftermath of that collision, including Judy Sleavin's recovery and effort to obtain justice for her family. Interesting and inspiring on many levels.

Read-alikes would be Junger's The Perfect Storm, the many books about the Everest disaster of 1996, including Krakauer's, and other such books. Read-alikes in a different direction would
...more
David Busby
one of the most heart breaking books I've ever read
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