A Pearl in the Storm

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , | Posted on 11:39 AM

Rating: 4/5 stars

For a little nonfiction blurb, we have Tori Murden McClure's A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean. It's an account of McClure's attempts to become the first woman to row a boat across the Atlantic. Yes, row. Alone. Across the Atlantic.

This is more than slightly crazy.

But McClure comes off as a remarkably sensible individual; sharp, erudite, and no stranger to the harshness of life. She structures her narrative in the model of an epic quest, with the woman taking the role of knight-errant, off to slay her dragon -- which, in McClure's case, takes the unexpected form of helplessness, a feeling that has plagued her in various guises through her life. She sets her chapters as daily entries tracking her progress across the waves, while drifting back into reminiscing about the struggles and people who have shaped her up to that point.

The book has a lyrical, meditative feeling but with a hard-edged practicality and some riveting descriptions as McClure is caught up in tempests both physical and mental - think The Hatchet, not Eat, Pray, Love. Women can go on quests and conquer challenges just as ably as men, but McClure soon discovers that our own individual paths rarely fit the expected mold. Spinning out a journey of revelation, McClure has some beautiful insights to share along with her varied and impressive life experience, and she invites the reader along to join in the adventure.

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