Kate's Reviews > Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them

Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn
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Mar 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads, mmm-sciencey, written-a-review
Read from March 31 to May 04, 2012

I enjoyed this book. There was a bit more science in it than I expected, but it was interesting science (tides, etc). The author did a good job of making it intelligible to a liberal arts major like myself. I also enjoyed all the interesting characters than Hohn met over the course of his investigation. That, to me, was the strongest part of this book - his writing about the people he met. And I very much enjoyed all the behind the scenes looks at life on an icebreaker or on a beach cleanup expedition.

I was a little unsatisfied at the end of the book .. just about my perceived lack of closure on the story (which, for the most part, the author couldn't do anything about) - but also (and this is a criticism not just of Moby Duck, but about these "stunt journalism" books in general, including my favourites by AJ Jacobs, but also books by Neal Pollock and Brad Herzog, to name a couple of others) is it all ended up being about being a dad and dealing with his own Peter Pan issues. It seems like a narrative through a lot of these books is that these men can't cope with being husbands and dads, or are having fatherhood unexpectedly thrust upon them, or whatever .. and they all some how have these incredibly patient wives who let them run around and do crazy shit.

Now, maybe they just all talk about it b/c they know that they are LUCKY LUCKY men to have such awesome tolerant women in their lives (Jacobs makes a point of saying so regularly) .. but I actually find this aspect of these books the least interesting. Largely, I'm sure, because I don't have kids so I don't get how much they influence everything you do as a person once you have them (or are trying to have them).

But, it is still a super-interesting book. Also, Hohn has an excellent vocabulary - I had to look up a lot of words.
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