karen's Reviews > The Raft

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
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's review
Aug 25, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: why-yes-i-ya, live-through-this
Read in August, 2012


spoiler alert: this book is not very good

seriously, i am not the one to come to for one-star book reviews. i rarely give a book one star. so you know when i hate a book, i HAAAATE a book. and i hated this one with every part of me that there is.

this book has the most infuriating "protagonist" that i have ever encountered, ever. ever.

here's a quick nature lesson from the book:

the young albatross touched down in the water when they got tired. some of them didn't understand they had to fold in their wings, because once their wings got wet, they couldn't fly. so the stupid ones held their wings out as they sat in the water, but they weren't strong enough to keep them up for long, so of course they drooped until they touched the water and the feathers got wet.
then the young birds couldn't take off.
and they were doomed.

this is called "survival of the fittest" in the animal kingdom. and these birds become food for tiger sharks, and cannot live long enough to pass on their "stupid" genes.

so what have we established here? our protagonist is aware that stupid doesn't survive. so why then, after a plane crash, (view spoiler), leaves her bobbing on a raft in the middle of the ocean, do the following passages occur??

i put the flashlight in my mouth and got up on my knees. i peeled off the wax, said a silent prayer, and pointed the flare towards the direction of the plane. i pulled the fuse and held out the flare with one hand, keeping the other tight on the side of the raft.
sparks flew out and with a great rushing whistle, the flare went off. and up. the cylinder in my hand was empty.
all the fireworks followed an arc up into the sky where they lasted about ten seconds then dispersed into small stars trickling back down.
my mouth dropped open, and the flashlight fell into the water. "no!" i grabbed for it but it was too late, and could only watch the light spiral down and around, down and around, growing fainter and fainter, then finally fading away.

oh. my. god.
but wait.

taking a deep breath, i put my foot over the side and started to slide out of the raft and into the water. but then i locked my elbows on the edge,refusing to go farther. my weight on the side of the empty raft made it flip over, trapping me underneath.
i screamed and grabbed for the raft, pushing it up. "get it off! get it off!" even though, for the moment, i could breathe just fine within the pocket of air between me and the capsized raft, the feeling of my legs just hanging there, treading, was more than i could take. "get it off me!" i screamed. i couldn't stand it anymore and didn't wait for max. instead, i shoved up with all my strength, throwing the raft off me.
as i did, the ditty bag attached to my arm slipped off. i grabbed for it, catching it by the bottom. red and green and purple and yellow and orange dots rained down around me, some pelting me.
"no!"i scrambled, splashing as i tried to grab them, but they were everywhere, sinking. how could i have forgotten to close the bag?

wow. way to panic unnecessarily and lose your entire food supply. too bad you didn't close that bag.

with all the birds, there had to be eggs on the island. but even if i did get up the nerve to eat one, there was no way to cook them.
i stubbed my toe and reached down to pick up the blue culprit. a plastic cigarette lighter. i opened my hand and let it drop back to the sand. there were thousands of them on the beaches at midway, and looking around, i saw them everywhere. useless.

hmmm. it's like you were just talking about needing fire and then you found a lighter. useless, indeed.

and it's not like these are the end of her stupid moves.

maybe finish reading the survival at sea card that is right there in the boat with you? i mean, what else are you going to do? instead, she skims it, and misses out on vital information that could have come in handy, oh, days ago.

and maybe obey the instructions, instead of thinking you know better. because you don't. you have proved that numerous times.

oh, and you just got your nose pierced and were warned against getting seawater in it and now you are trapped at sea on a raft and it is getting infected and painful because of all the seawater? take out your nose ring. for real. just take it out.like you need more discomfort while you are suffering from exposure and all that. dummy.

and all the whining from this terrible klutzy dummy:

-i didn't want to

-i decided to ignore

-i'm not going back out there

-no. i couldn't.

-i flung myself onto the wet sand and lay there.
i didn't have to do anything.
i just had to lie there. lie there and bleed to death.
lie there and die.
i didn't care. i didn't have to do anything.
i didn't.

yup. it's true. you don't.

and it just keeps going

(view spoiler)

sometimes, words fail me.

on my stomach, i started to stroke with my arms as i kicked. but i didn't like the water coming up in my face, and the ditty bag on my arm hampered my progress. so i flipped over on my back.
even as a kid, i had done okay on my back.
i breathed out. that was better. much better. i didn't feel like anything was dangling.
but i also couldn't see where i was going, could only guess. i pulled with my arms and kicked for a count of ten, then stopped to turn and see where the raft was.
after doing that three or four times, i realized i wasn't even gaining on the raft. i might even be losing. so i did the dog paddle, which seemed even slower than my backstroke had been.
max was close behind me and called out, "you need to swim on your stomach. just aim for the raft, hold your breath, and go."
i didn't want to.

wow. that is nearly slapstick in its inefficiency and teenage whininess. how can you root for this girl? a girl who refused to put on her life vest as the plane was going down and then yelled at the man who threw her out of the plane, saving her life.(view spoiler)

wow. just wow.

this book has some very interesting information about albatrosses, if you are interested, but seems to believe that sharks are stalkers that come about at the most inopportune times to eat stuff you need, when you are adrift at sea. bizarre.

there is more i want to yell about, but i am incredibly drained. i was so looking forward to this book, and i borrowed it from work practically the day it came out and read it on one sitting, but it was the worst one-sitting read i have ever suffered through, and there were many shouts of dismay from me until i decided to just give up on liking it and laugh at it instead.

i feel kind of bad about my one-star rating, but i didn't write the trainwreck, and this book was asking for it.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 431) (431 new)

message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason I'm sorry for you that you don't like books.

message 2: by Greg (new)

Greg See, you are the queen of giving one star ratings to books. Soon you will be handing them out to books you haven't even read.

karen see, now that person has cause to complain. i can't even remember the last time i gave one star to a book.

message 4: by Greg (new)

Greg I think you are wrong about this. 24% of readers gave this five stars. Only 4% (including you) gave this 1 star. You are obviously wrong.

karen i would think so, too, except i read it, so i know i am right.

message 6: by Greg (new)

Greg karen wrote: "see, now that person has cause to complain. i can't even remember the last time i gave one star to a book."

April 18th.
and the one before that February 9th. And then you have Turtledove one star on December 14th, and another book one star on November 28th.

This insanity of only reading books so you can dis them has to stop!

message 7: by Greg (new)

Greg The average American reads three books a year. You have given six books one star in the past year.

The numbers don't lie!

Stop the bullying! Occupy this review!!

message 8: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Pleeeze tell me this girl didn't make it.

karen Miriam wrote: "Pleeeze tell me this girl didn't make it."

(view spoiler)

message 10: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen damn, i didn't realize i was such a hater.

message 11: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen that turtledove book sucked, though. i regret nothing

message 12: by Greg (new)

Greg You are Occupied now! I've brought the drum circle.

message 13: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen oh, god, did you flag me?

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

No, I flag you. You are hateful reviewer.

message 15: by Greg (new)

Greg One, two
Three, four
This review has got to go!

message 16: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen J. Rubin wrote: "No, I flag you. You are hateful reviewer."


message 17: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen Greg wrote: "One, two
Three, four
This review has got to go!"

mean 2!!

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I like her review. She's always honest in her reviews.

message 19: by Greg (new)

Greg karen wrote: "Greg wrote: "One, two
Three, four
This review has got to go!"

mean 2!!"

More hating! Just what we have come to expect!!

message 20: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen εїз gretchin weiners εїз wrote: "I like her review. She's always honest in her reviews."

thank you!

message 21: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich This sounds mind numbing ha.

message 22: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen i had such high hopes. The Lifeboat was so good!

message 23: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 28, 2012 05:32PM) (new)

s.penkevich wrote: "This sounds mind numbing ha."

This whole review mind numbing ha.

message 24: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Greg wrote: "See, you are the queen of giving one star ratings to books. Soon you will be handing them out to books you haven't even read."

You guys beat me to it. I saw the one star rating and was coming over here to say Titus was right about karen.

message 25: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen i gave novel bookstore 4 stars, so titus can suck it.

message 26: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I can't remember the last time I saw you give a book one star.

message 27: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen greg does. it was april 18th.

message 28: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Ah - pays to read the whole thread before commenting.

message 29: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen he charts me every waking move. is creepy.

Wendy Darling But do you hate it?

message 31: by Greg (new)

Greg I do, none of your vile deeds go unnoticed!!

And I think I pulled a muscle in my crotch. I blame you and your book hating.

message 32: by Maria (new) - rated it 1 star

Maria Kramer Sheesh. Everyone's entitled to their opinion about books, even if people disagree. I mean, some very high profile people have hated books that are now known as great works of literature - http://www.flavorwire.com/188138/the-.... Besides, negative reviews are the most fun. :-)

Fight the good fight! Snarky reviews forever!!

message 33: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen Wendy Darling wrote: "But do you hate it?"

the book or greg's stalking of me?

the stalking came in useful tonight.

but i was nowhere near greg's crotch. i have been here at home all night. what he does with his crotch is his own business.

message 34: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen that link is great!


Friedrich Nietzsche on Dante Alighieri

“A hyena that wrote poetry on tombs.”

message 35: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen 20. Vladimir Nabokov on Joseph Conrad

“I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches.”

message 36: by Maria (new) - rated it 1 star

Maria Kramer "Every time I read "Pride and Prejudice" I want to dig [Jane Austen] up and hit her over the skull with her own shin bone." Mark Twain :-)

message 37: by Jason (new)

Jason #15 and #14 are funny, as back-to-back insults (or an insult followed by its retort):

15. William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

14. Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

message 38: by Jubilation Lee (new)

Jubilation Lee karen, you know I never doubt you, but are you sure about this book? Because I really, really really like that cover, and books with amazing covers shouldn't suck. It's a rule. Right?

message 39: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star


this book is also bad.

but i would love it if you would read it and tell me where i went wrong. redeem it for me. because i just hated this character so much, i was rooting against her. i was like, "come on, sharks! you can do it!"

message 40: by Greg (new)

Greg Can't just slag one book per review, can you?

message 41: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen Supervolcano: Eruption



message 42: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Why you flag karen, Jay Rubin?

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Ceridwen wrote: "Why you flag karen, Jay Rubin?"

Goodreads need positive reviewers, not hateful karens.

message 45: by karen (new) - rated it 1 star

karen well, definitely not plural karens. i am like highlander.

message 46: by Chris (new)

Chris I wondered how one teenage girl could be responsible for a plane crashing. Then I read your entire review....

message 47: by Chris (new)

Chris On the brightside it was only 231 pages.

message 48: by Janie (new)

Janie McMahan I just have to say that I think Karen's reviews are brilliant. One of my only friends that I actually read the WHOLE review instead of just scrolling for keywords. Also, to the guy who said the average American only reads 3 books per year....um.....most of us on this site read at least 3 books per month, so technically 98% of the Goodreads population isn't on base with the "average" American.

message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Greg wrote: "I do, none of your vile deeds go unnoticed!! And I think I pulled a muscle in my crotch. I blame you and your book hating."

Greg is still mad cause you went to lunch with Connor and showed him your cleavage. Your plan worked. Now he'll never visit that kid again.

message 50: by Anna Janelle (new)

Anna Janelle Ok, I might be going out on a limb a revealing myself as a piercing enthusiast, but removing an infected piercing is a no-no. Bacteria gets trapped in there and the outside heals over but the inside is still "sick" so to speak. It can be dangerous. Just saying...

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