27 September 2010

Review: Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg

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.

Ten Degrees of Reckoning at an Indie

Published by Putnam / Amy Einhorn Books 2009
ISBN-13: 9780399155352
YTD: 84
Source: Bought (see review policy
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Julie P. 9/27/10, 6:25 AM  

Wow -- what an amazing story! I just might have to check this one out!

Veens 9/27/10, 8:21 AM  

I have not read any of the books you mention. I will have to check them out!

Barbara 9/27/10, 9:07 AM  

OMG, how sad! I admire a strong-willed person like this author, but I don't know whether I could read such a heart-breaking story.

Col (Col Reads) 9/27/10, 11:19 AM  

Great review. It sounds like it might be too terribly sad for me, but I certainly appreciate the spirit of a woman who can get through such an ordeal and make something positive out of it.

caite 9/27/10, 11:24 AM  

I have to agree that I am a bit scared off by how sad this book must be...but then I am such a fan of The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air that I may just have to check it out.

Sandy Nawrot 9/27/10, 1:00 PM  

Oh, I LOVE stories like this!!! I believe I could read from this genre all the time. I must get my hands on this one. I had a wonderful conversation with Mark Mustian this weekend about the beauty of Amy Einhorn. This is just one more example of her genius.

bermudaonion 9/27/10, 8:09 PM  

I haven't read any of the books you mentioned, but boy does this one sound right up my alley! Thanks for the great review!

Anonymous,  9/27/10, 8:58 PM  

I have a hard time with boat sinking stories...probably because I'm not that comfortable in the water. I guess they're my equivalent of the Jaws movie.

Anonymous,  9/28/10, 8:46 AM  

Ten Degrees of Reckoning looks extremely well done and riveting! I've always found natural disaster / survival stories a little hard to read, especially when they involve the ocean, but this one looks interesting.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours 9/28/10, 11:51 AM  

I love these kinds of books so I'll definitely look for this one. It reminds me a bit of Black Wave, by John and Jean Silverwood, as well.

Dorte H 9/29/10, 1:35 PM  

This one sounds intriguing, yet terrifying. I think it is interesting that so many people find crime fiction off-putting; in my opinion stories like this one are far worse.

Michele 10/1/10, 9:16 PM  

I read this one a couple of months ago and it was heartbreaking. I was disappointed in her ghostwriter, though, and thought it could have been better done. But the basics of the story itself are compelling, aren't they?

Beth F 10/2/10, 6:24 AM  

Michele, I totally agree about the quality of writing, but then I understood why Judith wanted her friend to be the one to write the book. Ans, as you say, the story itself is riveting.

Alice 10/5/10, 8:02 PM  

This is one good book to be read.

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