Monday, January 07, 2019

Lost in the Antarctic

Lost in the Antarctic: The Voyage of the Endurance. Tod Olson.  2019. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The ship didn't stand a chance, and Frank Hurley knew it. He'd been in the engine room with the carpenter, trying desperately to keep the water out.

Premise/plot: If you're looking for a compelling read, I'm happy to recommend Tod Olson's Lost In the Antarctic. It is an action-packed adventure story. And it's nonfiction. Every bit of this one is true. It opens with a bit of a teaser set in October 1915. Readers get a tiny glimpse of the fate of the ship Endurance before the story gets properly started--in early 1914.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED this one. This is the way I like to do bleakity-bleak let me tell you. It has all the bleak elements--desperation, despair, near-impossible odds, tense relationships--yet it stops just short of tragedy. The miraculous thing about this one is that all humans aboard the ship survived until rescued. You might have noticed I said ALL HUMANS. The animals aboard the vessel were less fortunate. The book contains a number of passages that animal lovers would find revolting.

I first read of the Endurance in Jennifer Armstrong's SHIPWRECK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD (1998). It was required reading in a library science literature class. I believe it was chosen as representing compelling narrative nonfiction for young people. I couldn't find a copy of the book in print form (all checked out), but the library did have it on available to check out on audio. It was my first audio book. It was SPELLBINDING and COMPELLING and FASCINATING. I found it unforgettable. Especially the plink, plink, plink of the amputated frostbitten toes.

I'd have to reread Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World to see how it compares to Lost in the Antarctic--which one is 'better' from a literary standpoint--but I'm happy to recommend either or both.

Original audience born circa....2007 to 2011.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Alyssa Nelson said...

This sounds great, but reading about those poor animals would have broken me if I read it at an earlier age. Great review!

Becky said...

I agree. I avoided most books with animals in them...just in case.

Stephanie said...

My brain is screaming reading this review! I run far, far away from most man-vs-nature/the elements books; they stress me out SO much! Shipwrecks, being stranded, movies where people get left behind in space- I'm deep-breathing just thinking about it! You are a brave woman in my book. ;)

Becky said...

Stephanie, I don't have an adventurous bone in my body. The survival-themed books are a bit out of my comfort zone. It helps me to know in this case that not a single man died during the expedition. So I could rest assured that even at really bleak moments, it would be okay.