105 Ways to Give a Book

Can You Survive the Titanic?

Can You Survive the Titanic?: An Interactive Survival AdventureMy library chose a nonfiction location for Can You Survive the Titanic?: An Interactive Survival Adventure by Allison Lassieur. The book shares lots facts about the ship, the process of the sinking, the types of passengers, and chances of survival. It includes a bibliography, index, glossary, and photographs. It's also one of a You Choose Books featuring multiple story paths and possible endings, which stretches the nonfiction label for me.

After a short introduction, the reader has the choice to navigate the book as part of the crew as a surgeon's assistant, as a governess of a wealthy family, or a 12 year old boy traveling with his father as a third class passenger. At different points, the book offers choices, for instance whether to help third class or go to the upper deck, until the end of your story. As fiction, it was engaging, interesting, and detailed, with a well-researched historical and emotional accuracy of the experience. The truth certainly wasn't sugar-coated, as many of the storyline endings did not leave the characters alive.

These dire conclusions are where the book gets tricky for me. I know death happens in the genre of "choose your own adventure," but this was more real... because the Titanic itself was real. I'm not sure how I feel about that. The other survival books in the You Choose Books are more vague - Antarctica, storm chasing, the jungle. The basis on an actual event made me uncomfortable in sort of a voyeuristic way, much less wondering if it was appropriate for younger readers for whom the series is intended. Or in our twenty-four hour news cycle of the latest tragedy, is this the new normal? Thoughts?

For more titles, visit our Nonfiction Monday host, Supratentorial.

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Ms. Yingling said...

Hmmm. I inherited some of these from an elementary library, and the WWII ine also had some deaths. I don't care much for the choose-your-own format, since I feel compelled to do every combination, and I like the deaths even less. No denying the appeal for the lityle war mongering boys, who have been around for years!

Alice@Supratentorial said...

Interesting review. My son loves the choose-your own adventure books. I'm not sure how he'd feel about this one.

Beth said...

Given that most kids my generation learned about the Titanic from the song that included the cheerful lyric "husbands and wives, little children lost their lives" I have to disagree that its a 'new' thing to expose children to the deaths.

Maybe the new squeamishness can't take it, though. Like Ms Yingling I have to read achieve every combination so I don't seek the choose-your-adventures out. I don't think it's any more voyouristic than the "You Were There" series that I gobbled up as a kid.

Cozy in Texas said...

Interesting idea for a book. We went to the Titanic exhibition when it was at the British Columbia museum. I was surprised that life jackets consisted of thin material stuffed with cork.