Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Great Wide Sea

Ben's life is turned upside down when his mother dies in a car crash.  In an attempt to cope with his loss, his father decides to pull Ben and his two brothers, Dylan and Gerry, out of school for a year and sail the Bahamas.  Although sailing has always been a part of Ben's life because of the lake near their family house, sailing in the great wide sea is completely different.  Instead of finding the perfect first car, Ben now has to concentrate on things like staying awake for his night shift at the tiller and not going crazy on their cramped 30 foot sailboat.  Conflict rises between Ben and his dad on several occasions, and leads to Ben resenting his dad and his decision to take this trip (not that he ever really liked it in the first place).  One morning Ben wakes up and realizes his dad never woke him for his shift.  In fact, his dad is no where to be found.  At 16, Ben is now in charge of keeping his younger brothers safe and locating a harbor, which will be an almost impossible task...a massive storm is almost upon them, their GPS is gone, the radio won't work, and the emergency locator disappeared with their father.

Other reviews may not laud the book much, but I disagree! M. H. Herlong has written high adventure for boys.  Not only is it an entirely male cast, there's all kinds of crazy almost-mortal-peril moments and a total "Survivor" part of the story.  Ben's frustration with his dad seems completely realistic to me.  A different reviewer criticized the repetitiveness of the emotions, but you find me a teenager (boy or girl) who has just lost a parent and has been taken away from the only home they have ever known by the other parent who has seemed to go off the deep end (somewhat literally) and just try to convince me that they're gonna be hunky dory in a year.  I stayed awake way longer than I should have for several nights because I was so interested in what was going to happen to these three brothers. This was a really fun book!

1 comment:

  1. Booklist did give this a starred review. Thanks for your take on it.