From Publishers Weekly
With a bankrupt business, pending lawsuits and an audit by the IRS, Henry had plenty of reasons to hit the deck. In 1989 she set sail aboard the 31-foot Southern Cross and traveled the world. Eight years later Henry returned to Acapulco, Mexico; at 56, she became the oldest American woman (not the first, as the book jacket erroneously reports) to complete a solo circumnavigation. Over the course of this memoirish travelogue, Henry emerges as an artist, creating original watercolors of the coastal villages she calls home, mounting exhibitions in galleries across the globe and earning enough money to support her sailing. She also develops a deeper understanding of herself. Indeed, Henry may well be construed as a shining example of midlife reinvention, an inspiration to woman wishing to put aside the past in pursuit of a dream. Unfortunately, Henry's narrative lacks the requisite arc and flow of a compelling story. Full of mundane details (including what she ate for breakfast, the contents of her pantry and her latest book selections), the writing feels slow and weighted. Endless laments about her failed business, unlucky love life and strained relationship with her daughter fine fodder for a private diary feel cliched and tiresome when issued for public consumption. Occasionally, Henry peppers the text with anecdotes about the political history of each region, serving to right the sinking ship. Watercolors and b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Henry, the first American woman to sail 27,000 miles solo around the world, left Acapulco in her 31' sailboat, Southern Cross, on May 4, 1989, and returned eight years later on May 5, 1997. Except for approximately two years intermittently exploring some of the 40 islands and countries en route, Henry spent her time navigating treacherous waters and endured gale-force winds, high seas, equipment and navigation failures, and the constant, frightful prospect of nighttime collision with behemoth cargo ships. In log-book diary form, she recounts the encounters and events of her long journey-first to Polynesia and the Coral Sea, then through the Malacca Straits to the Arabian Sea and onward to the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the North Atlantic, until finally she threads the Caribbean homeward. The narrative is garrulous yet informative and evocative, but the editorial decision to substitute original letters for creations that "reflect closely the nature and content of real letters" compromises its authenticity. Still, this tactic neither diminishes Henry's accomplishment nor detracts from the interest this memoir will generate. For most public and large academic libraries.Lonnie Weatherby, McGill Univ. Lib., Montreal
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.