Monday, January 07, 2019
Lost in the Antarctic
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