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Fourteen: A Daughter's Memoir of Adventure, Sailing, and Survival

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  73 reviews
After her mother and father divorce at age seven, Leslie quickly learns the hard lessons of being Dad's favorite. The abuse begins at age nine and doesn't end until she begins to fight back, finally, at age fourteen. Her father, a larger-than-life Norwegian, assumed full custody of Leslie and her two sisters and moved the family from their 63-acre rustic ranch in Northern ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by She Writes Press
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  626 ratings  ·  73 reviews


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Yodamom
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing

What a fabulous story of exploration, survival and coming of age.
The story attracted me from the first blurb I read on it. What I found between the pages was so much more. A 14 year old girl living on a boat for 2 years an ideal living in my opinion. I knew girls like this when I was young, I grew up just down the road from her. We are the same age, I sailed locally but wanted more. I wanted to be her, wanted to sail away with my dream family to a tropical island where everything was warm, beau
...more
Judy
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Leslie Johansen Nack has written a book that is part sailing adventure, part coming-of-age story, and part memoir of surviving the kind of family we call “dysfunctional,” a word which doesn’t nearly capture the pain and confusion living in such a family causes. Her particular challenge: negotiating life with a father who is both hero and abuser, teacher and bully. But Leslie is more than a survivor: she is a brave and strong and spirited young girl you’ll cheer for throughout this gripping memoi ...more
Terri Brewer
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I enjoyed this book because of its authenticity, honesty and attention to detail. The author took her time in laying the groundwork for the great journey she, her sisters and their father were embarking on, so that by the time they actually left for their trip, I was full of trepidation about how it would go. The book was so carefully written that I could feel in my middle-aged body, the roller coaster ride of churning emotions as the fourteen year-old protagonist used her wits and sheer strengt ...more
J.P. Willson
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I do not recall what it was that prompted me to pick this book up yet I am glad I did. A very enjoyable story of the lives of three young girls and their rather formidable force of a father in his own Norwegian way....the words domineering and controlling come to mind. In many ways it reminded me of my own youth and father and his incessant need to always be in control and have the last word.
To virtually never show any emotion towards his daughters which he very apparently loved very much and wa
...more
Eva Friedlander
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In Fourteen Leslie Nack shows she has a true talent, a nack, for making her reader want to keep turning the page. I stayed up all night reading her story. Such a harrowing tale of an unconventional family; life on a rickety boat with a father who is lovable one minute and abusive the next. I can’t wait to read the prequel to learn what happened before she was fourteen and the sequel to find out what happened next. Looking forward to the movie too!
Carol Canterbury
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
loved this book. leslie writes wonderfully, even thru the horrible events in her life. the book is a great read, I read in a few days, you won't regret!!
Kayo
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed the book for the most part, a lot of it( obviously the fathers inappropriateness ) was SO uncomfortable to read.
I was impressed with author's knowledge and skills on the boat at such a young age.
Julie Haigh
Loved it! Looking forward to reading more!

I loved this memoir about Leslie and her family and how they swapped the life living on a ranch to life aboard a 45ft sailboat. Starting the book it felt so relaxing and calming to read and it’s a beautiful presentation. Mum couldn't adapt to life at sea-she suffered constant sea sickness. Leslie's parents divorced when she was seven years old. They had tried to get back together many times but finally she left for Canada. Leslie is thirteen near the sta
...more
Pat Ellis
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great 'coming of age', adventure and survival memoir and so well written. The author had me turning the pages even though I didn't want the book to finish. The 'sailing' alone would have had me captivated..... Leslie's father takes his 3 daughters on a 45' boat journey across the ocean to Tahiti - can you even imagine that!! - The descriptions of this voyage are brilliant. There's an undercurrent though of the non-water type which Leslie is frightened of and eventually tries to stand-u ...more
Rita Gardner
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Recipe: Mix three young girls and a mercurial and unpredictable father. Throw in a sailboat, a father’s dream and the vast Pacific Ocean. Stir together and pray for the best. Leslie Johansen Nack’s memoir is heart-rending as she and her sisters navigate through their father’s storms in a journey to adulthood unlike any other. In addition to the perils at sea, Leslie must also be on constant guard against her father, a Svengali of a parent from whom she cannot escape. I found Fourteen difficult t ...more
Kathy Dobronyi
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Leslie Johansen Nack weaves the story of the ocean into of her coming-of-age memoir where it is a mother to her.

“Fourteen” is a powerful story that places the reader square in her life. We feel the salty sea air and powerful waves aboard ship. We also feel the verbal and emotional manipulation of her domineering father. How difficult it must have been for Leslie, who never measured up to her father’s expectations, to rise above his denigration in order to make solid life or death decisions. Than
...more
Scott Hudson
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this 300+ page memoir in one sitting. The narrative is that compelling.
Lene Fogelberg
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Riveting and heartfelt, Fourteen is a profoundly moving coming-of-age memoir that stays with the reader for a long time.
Jodell
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing

If you're driftin' on an empty ocean With no wind to fill your sail The future, your horizon
It's like searchin' for the Holy Grail You feel there's no tomorrow As you look into the water below
It's only your reflection And you still ain't got no place to go Time will show When, I don't know Sail away tomorrow Sailin' far away To find it steal or borrow I'll be there someday, yeah Oh woman, I keep returnin' To sing the same old song The story's been told, now I'm gettin' old Tell me, where do I be
...more
Julianna Mauga
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

I read this book in only a few days, I had a hard time putting it down. Definitely worth reading!
Laura Ender
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying this: The author's note says that Ms. Nack is currently working on the continuation of this story, and I can't wait to read it.

At the beginning of the book, I wouldn't have thought so. The book is written mostly in chronological order, and so we are not thrust immediately into any real action, but introduced slowly to our cast of characters and their situation. And it's an interesting situation, don't get me wrong--but it takes a while for the story to take off (not entire
...more
Ronald Keeler
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Book covers attract buyers; there is nothing new about this. We can tell a book by its cover, or at least we think we can. Fourteen by Leslie Johansen Nack communicates several ideas all at once. Fourteen, hmmm, that might be the age of the female on the cover. She is wearing a bikini. The next point that catches reader attention is the subtitle: A Daughter’s Memoir of Adventure, Sailing, and Survival. That last word is a trigger that evokes the possibility of domestic child abuse. Then there ar ...more
Askaline
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fourteen is one of these books that leave you in need for more after the last page, a rare gift all readers crave but few writers deliver.
Fourteen is a fantastic coming of age adventure that engrosses the reader from page one right to the last one; a multiple layer tale that is as much about sailing the Pacific ocean as to how to survive dysfunctional parents & living at close quarters with an overbearing father and, it manages to ring authentic throughout!
Thank you Leslie (Johansen Nack) fo
...more
Susan Joyce
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My heart ached knowing Leslie's mother was absent in her life because of a chronic, debilitating mental illness. And I cringed. each time Leslie's father verbally abused her or made sexual advances to her and her sisters.

This honest coming-of-age story had me counting my blessings—sweeping me back in time and reminding me of my own awkwardness at that clueless puberty age. Lucky me, to have had caring parents who did their best to raise and educate eight children; a mother who taught me why wear
...more
vvb
Rating: 4.5
Coming of age story with the sea as a backdrop. Although the tale is not necessarily a pretty one in regards to family/father relations, it provides the general feeling of what it is like to be out on a sea adventure.

I liked learning about navigating a boat and what is involved in a long sea journey.

The photos included throughout the book was a nice touch and drew me into the story even more.
Jennifer
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Leslie's voice and point of view are easy for me to crawl into and be mesmerized. There is beauty and there is ugliness. There is survival at different levels. I loved all the nautical-speak and I learned some things about sailing too.
Elizabeth Marro
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
A rich and full coming-of-age story, this memoir follows a girl who at fourteen went to sea with her complicated, often abusive father and her sisters and returned home marked forever by the experience. Fascinating.
Kme_17
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this as a first read. This book was definitely interesting reading. This book about a fourteen year old who lived a boat for a large amount of time. This was definitely an honest look at a troubled family with an interesting living situation. Definitely an engrossing read.
Gabrielle Mathieu
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
In some ways, Leslie Johansen Nack’s memoir evokes my own teenage years, in the seventies. Her father eats Grape Nuts, but the kids are excited about Froot Loops. Strumming the guitar is a nice way of spending time. The older boy who’s foxy and tan, makes out with you, and then drops you.
But then there are the unusual parts. She and her sisters are taken out of school to sail to Tahiti in their father’s boat. Their dad, Bjorn, a Norwegian tough guy, expects her and her sisters to procure dinner
...more
Linda Atwell
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up Fourteen because it was a coming of age memoir. I generally read a lot of memoirs—I love reading about other people's lives—and this one kept my interest throughout. I love to sail—but on a HUGE cruise ship. I would never be brave enough to sail from San Diego to the South Pacific on a small sailboat. I know Leslie had her father and siblings with her, but still. I think at that age I would have been petrified to be so far away from land. Although this isn't just a sailing book, it t ...more
Katherine Harms
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truth and consequences

This story of a young girl cruising the Pacific Ocean with her father and two sisters is hard. Painful. A family ortrayed in a harsh light.
Nevertheless it is truth, and some of that truth is beautiful.
As a Cruiser Livining On Dirt (CLOD), I can testify that the author describes ocean cruising accurately, and the fact that a 14-year-old learned navigation before GPS earns my respect.
I grieved her issues with her father. Yet her family was a very credible mix of the good an
...more
Adam Lottes
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is very much a memoir full of adventure, sailing and survival. Author Leslie Nack delivers a captivating true story about growing up with an over-bearing father taking his family on an ocean adventure.

How she lived through her ordeal and experiences is amazing. A few of the adventures skate on the brink of disaster. Some of her encounters with her father are chilling and here is where we see not only her vulnerability but also her strength in how she pushed through and developed safety mec
...more
A.M. Steiner
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable memoir of a fourteen year old's travels with her domineering and lecherous father. It evokes a strong feeling of the thrill of sailing, and gives a great insight into the author's struggles with her dysfunctional family. Unlike some tales of this type, the family is dysfunctional and interesting, rather than just lumps, which makes the misery relatable. On the downside the prose seems to switch almost at random from retrospective insight from an adult perspective to what reads l ...more
William Webb
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written! On the edge of my seat! Adventure, terror and lyrically beautiful. I am grateful for this powerful read!My husband read it first and assured me it was a must-read. He was right!

Wonderfully written! On the edge of my seat! Adventure, terror and lyrically beautiful. I am grateful for this powerful read!My husband read it first and assured me it was a must-read. He was right! Wonderfully written! On the edge of my seat! Adventure, terror and lyrically beautiful. I am grateful
...more
Irene Allison
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: human-landscape
Wow!

This book broke my heart, kept me riveted, and amazed me at the skill of the author who has penned a memoir that reads like an "adventure-thriller-coming-of-age-escape-from-abuse-to-survival" novel. But it's not a novel. It's a memoir.

That the author survived her fourteenth year is a feat of resilience and strength. That she is now sharing it with us is a gift.

"What doesn't break us, makes us stronger" -- the author shows as we hold our breath then cheer for our spunky heroine on the gaun
...more
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Leslie Johansen Nack graduated UCLA with a B.A. degree in English Literature. She is a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers and San Diego Writers Ink. She lives in San Diego where she has two children with her husband of twenty-six years. She enjoys sailing, backpacking and writing.

Fourteen: A Daughter’s Memoir of Adventure, Sailing, and Survival, (She Writes Press, Oct 2015) was
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