July 9, 2011: Re-publishing this review after just seeing this story featured on TV under “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” They did a pretty good job condensing a complex non-fiction book into a one-hour TV show, good enough to stick with through the endless commercials.
Here is the original review:
This is a non-fiction story told by the author about his experience of being shipwrecked in the Atlantic and drifting in a rubber raft for 76 days. The story plays in the early 1980ies. The author is an avid and experienced sailor on his way back to the US, via the Caribbean, from the Canary Islands, in a small sail boat, by himself. A few days into the voyage his boat smashes into something and is completely destroyed. He never actually finds out what happened and he barely escapes with his life. Miraculously, he manages to get the rubber life raft launched and obtain his emergency gear, including a fishing spear gun and a sleeping bag, before his boat sinks and completely disappears.
Given his almost total lack of food and freshwater, you would expect him not to be able to survive beyond a week. Very few people in the history of sailing have been adrift longer than a couple of months and survived to tell about it. He has. The ordeals that he goes through are staggering and beyond anything you can imagine. Since I read his book, I knew that against all odds, he would eventually survive.
This is the book to read if you think you have problems, with your marriage, relationships, children, job, creditors, friends or whatever else you can imagine. Nothing seems like a valid reason for despair after you read Adrift. You have it easy, and you will be grateful for every minute of that easiness. I was tremendously inspired by the courage and indomitable will the author showed in this quest for survival. He succeeded. I wonder if I would have had such strength.
Problems? Do I have problems? Nah!