In 1990, Judith and Michael Sleavin joined a rare fraternity when they boarded the Melinda Lee, a 47-foot ocean-worthy sailboat, to circumnavigate the globe. After solid preparation and more than adequate experience, they and their two children, Ben and Annie, took to a life at sea. Three years later, just a couple dozen or so miles off the coast of New Zealand, a freighter, cruising without lights or radar, plowed into the sailboat on a windy, wavy night.
Before the second day was over, Judith was alone on an overturned raft, paralyzed from the waist down, praying and fighting to stay alive long enough to tell her story to the world. It took more than a decade of therapy, lawsuits, and the help of a family friend for Judith to finally get her memories onto the page.
In Ten Degrees of Reckoning, Hester Rumberg talks about the special relationship that the Sleavins shared with each other and with Ben and Annie. From the happy days of fishing, homeschooling, and the familiar routine of sailing to the unimaginable horror and heartbreak of that cold November night, Rumberg tells us the tale that Judith swore she would share with the world. Although painful and unbelievably sad to read, the memoir is also a tribute to Judith's strength and determination and to the memories of her husband and children.
Highly recommended to fans of Into the Wild, The Perfect Storm, Endurance, and Into Thin Air as well as of the many modern sailing survival memoirs such as Adrift and Survive the Savage Sea.
This book was reviewed as part of the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge (click to join the fun). For information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010.
These links lead to affiliate programs