Life in the “real” world is hazy, and it is piled full of superfluous things that have little bearing on survival. Modern conveniences equate with disposability. When things break, we throw them away. When friendships break, we throw them away. After all, there are so many people. We don’t watch the weather; we change the thermostat. We don’t take care of ourselves; we leave that to the doctors and the lawyers. We don’t take care of the people around us; we pay taxes and expect the government to do the caretaking. We place our trust in our locks and alarm systems. People come and go at dizzying speeds, and most encounters are frustratingly superficial. When I remember to ask someone, “How are you?” I seldom slow my pace to listen to the response. Reality is sometimes difficult to find in the “real” world.A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean, by Tori Murden McClure, is an amazing story of endurance, strength, drive, tenacity, pride and humility. This book was recommended by a patron at my library, and by the time my hold came up, I had forgotten all about it. I almost put it back, because I couldn’t imagine why I had wanted to read about the first woman to row across the ocean. I’m glad I gave it a try, because it was interesting and inspirational. An adult biography, it would be perfect for high schoolers as well.
In 1998, Tori McClure rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a custom rowboat with a tiny cabin. She charted her journey in hours and miles rowed, in the lessons learned, and in the insights discovered. She rowed alongside whales and playful dolphins, through storms and rogue waves. When things broke, she fixed them. When things broke beyond repair, she did without even when those things were considered essential.
She starts her story with a strong statement of will: “I felt proud not to be searching for life in the absent corners of weekends.” She ends her story with a realization: “Our helplessness makes us human. Love is what makes our humanity bearable.” And in between those two points, she shares the remarkable story of her life and ocean journey. Not to be missed.
Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at All About Children’s Books.