Melinda's Reviews > Dove

Dove by Robin Lee Graham
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Jul 27, 09

bookshelves: adventure, read-life-adventures
Read in July, 2009

I got interested in this book because Zac Sunderland mentions it in his blog. See Zac's blog at http://www.zacsunderland.com/blog/ind... . Zac is currently about 10 days from finishing a 13 month solo cruise around the world in a sail boat called "Intrepid", which will make him the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo! The story of Robin Lee Graham inspired him to think about doing the same thing himself.

More to come as I start the book.....

I have finished this book, and as of July 16, 2009 Zac Sunderland completed his circumnavigation of the world, and now has the record as the youngest person to ever do so. He began When he was 16, and finished when he was 17. Yea Zac!

Now on to the book. I have to admit that I did not like Robin Lee very much. (his parents call him Lee, his wife calls him Robin in the book) I appreciate that school is not a "one size fits all" system, and I am thankful that he found a way to learn outside of that limiting box. I also appreciate that young men often need challenge and to be pushed to find their manhood. This is a hard thing to do with the system of "one size fits all" for school and for work. So I appreciate and am thankful for Robin rising to the challenge to "do hard things" (as Zac Sunderland puts it) and actually work towards the solo sailing goal he finds to take on.

What is missing in this book is thankfulness and gratefulness. Robin would never have thought of the solo sailing goal he had, if his father had not taken his family on a multi-month cruise on "The Golden Hind". His father supported Robin in this daring adventure, yet his father gets very little positive press. Robin never would have finished his solo cruise without his wife Patti, whom he met in Fiji. He and Patti later married in South Africa, mid-way through his trip around the globe. And while Robin does thank Patti for helping urge him on to finish, the overall feel you get from reading even that "thank you" from him is a rather selfish and resentful attitude.

Angry at being told he was too young to marry, he resolves to earn his own money the rest of the way on his trip. You are not ever told whether he stuck to that promise or not. Being angry at the world, being angry that other people don't see things to be as important as what he does, striking back against commercialism, and embracing the mythical simpler native way of life all seems very shallow to me. Angry at over hunting of turtles, Robin and his wife (and friends) hunt goats on the Gallapagos Islands. What is different between what sea captains did years before with the turtles, and what Robin is doing now? He seems to love the simpler native way of life that he sees in the Pacific Islands, yet he never stays there long enough to figure out why the people are poor, or if their life really is as simple as he thinks it is. Angry at commercial production and capitalism, he seems to take for granted that his boat was made by someone in business to build boats and that the canned food he stocks up on was also made by a commercial business. Wow... and he doesn't even seem to see the contradiction in his own life and words!

I hope this young man grew up to be a grateful grown man. I hope that at some point he was thankful for his father and the sacrifice it took for him to let him sail around the world alone. I hope that he developed a kinder attitude towards others who stayed home and did the hard work of going to work and building boats that were safe and of canning food that remains safe for months. I hope that he learned that arrogance is rarely attractive, and that what really is hard in life may not be sailing around the world solo... but living with people and building relationships that grow and blossom over time.

I hear that he's written another book about the years after his solo voyage. I'm trying to figure out if it would be worth it to read.... or perhaps to pass. There are many books by angry people and by arrogant people. Perhaps I'll try his next book, hoping to read words that come from a thankful heart instead of an angry one.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Janet (new)

Janet Wow, this is an excellent and fascinating review and reminder to all of us....count our blessings, appreciate the people in our lives and the positive difference they make in the our world, be grateful for the creative, entrepreneurial, free spirit of America, and thank God for our opportunities and lessons learned.

Thank you, Melinda!


message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael Excellent review, Melinda. It's sad that Mr. Graham could not acknowledge the assistance he received from others and the debt he owed them. It does not really matter if a book is well written if its spirit is ugly. Thank you for the review!


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