Trin's Reviews > Survive the Savage Sea

Survive the Savage Sea by Dougal Robertson
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Jun 03, 2007

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bookshelves: adventure, 1970s
Read in March, 2007

The true story of a family—father (the author), mother, adult son, twin 12-year-old boys, and a twentysomething friend of theirs—who escaped their sinking yacht and then survived for 37 days on the open ocean. Thirty-seven days. This is as harrowing as you would imagine, and Robertson discusses it all with an amazing, almost-flat, frankness. Down to details like the necessity of turtle oil enemas, so if you're at all squeamish, I recommend staying away. ;-) Though of course, this book played into two of my greatest fears—drowning and sharks—and I found it fascinating. The bulk of the book, describing in detail those 37 days and the many brave and innovative things the Robertson family did to survive, is nigh-unputdownable. This is unfortunately followed by an extra 40 pages or so describing how YOU TOO could survive the savage sea, and I found this less interesting, because a) that is not a situation I plan to get myself into anytime soon, and b) so much of what the last few hundred pages taught was that the only real way to survive is to be able to adapt to the specific circumstances you happen to find yourself in, and there's really no way to predict or plan for that. Also, as with all first person, true-story narratives, there's always a risk that the author will reveal something unsavory about themselves through their POV; I feel I should point out that there are a few instances of this, as Robertson seems majorly down on formal education and at one point refers his wife's "feminine irrationality"—It was the '70s! I kept trying to remind myself. A poor excuse. But if you're interested at all in survival stories or like scaring yourself with tales of sharks nipping at people's ankles, this book is incredibly gripping.
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