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Coming About : A Family Passage at Sea Paperback – June 16, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
"We went sailing because we wanted to recreate our family.... We needed joy, we needed challenge," writes Hitchcock, after noting earlier that "like many American families, we were spinning out centrifugally." With their six- and eight-year-old children, Hitchcock and her husband, David, borrowed Hei Tiki, a 34-foot sailboat, from her father-in-law and sailed 3500 miles around the Caribbean in nine months. Touted as "a woman's version" of My Old Man and the Sea and Maiden Voyage, it is remarkable mostly because after reading Hitchcock's portrayal of just about the most self-indulgent, rude, nasty, totally humorless husband in recent family sagas, one finds it hard to believe that they are still together four years later. One plods through the recording of one hostile collision after another?many of which Hitchcock rationalizes as perhaps her fault?because the kids are adorable and because the trip itself is challenging. Hitchcock begins with barely any sailing experience in a boat that seems at times less than seaworthy for this kind of venture?and with nary a mention of anyone wearing a life preserver or a tethering harness as they plunge through the frequently treacherous seas. Despite one's fervent wish that the author will push her modern-day Captain Bligh overboard, he comes through alive and immediately takes off with his father and son on a six-week island cruise, leaving Hitchcock and her daughter to return home and clean up the mess left by a student renter. Hardly the "wonderful meditation on marriage, family and the beauty of togetherness" promised in the blurb.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Deciding that her two-paycheck family needed a change of pace, Hitchcock (Wildflowers on the Windowsill, LJ 3/1/84) took nine months off with husband David, son John (age eight), and daughter Alison (age six) to sail from Florida to the Caribbean on the 34' Hei Tiki, named after the Maori god of fertility. After a year of planning and saving for the trip, they rented out their house in Virginia, arranged for a good friend to take care of their affairs, and sailed Hei Tiki south to the Bahamas. Traveling from Cocoa Beach to the Abacos, Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, Martinique, and Grenada, they eventually ended up back up to Florida. During their voyage, they had to adjust to living in a very confined space and, in the process, became a tight-knit family. Home schooling became a major preoccupation, with shore trips providing exciting learning experiences. This is a well-written story that is not overly technical about how a family adjusts to life aboard a small boat. A solid purchase for public libraries with potential voyagers.?John Kenny, San Francisco, P.L.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
But, all that being said, I like reading anything about the Caribbean and I'm actually reading it for the 2nd time on the plane and back from the BVIs.
Several reviewers mentioned how much they learned from this book that would help them in their own future cruise. There are far better books to read to give you that information. Any of Lin and Larry Pardey's books would be helpful. And there are far better ways for women to learn, such as taking an American Sailing Association course or by sailing with other women to learn the basics.
My husband and I just completed a year-long 6,000-mile cruise around the Eastern U.S. and Canada, in a 34-foot sailboat -- the same size as Hei Tiki. Other long-term cruisers say that maintaining a positive relationship with your spouse is one of the hardest parts of long-term cruising. It was for us. Susan brings that point home. She started with the disadvantage of knowing NOTHING about sailing before the family set sail and an "intense" husband, as one friend described him.. She learned admirably to be a good crew, but may have avoided some of those early struggles if she and David had prepared her more for her role aboard.
And those periodic descriptions of sex on board were just totally weird. She barely went into detail about where they traveled and then wrote in great detail about their sex life, every 30 pages or so, as another reviewer noted. TMI. TMI.
I'm passing this book on to another lady sailor friend who is concerned about her relationship with her spouse on a long-term cruise. If it weren't for her, I'd be tempted to send the book to the recycle bin. It has such a narrow niche of value.
The kids were amazing though it was hard to see how hard they are on them and how little positive intent is not often assumed, if at all.
Some folks here have given poor reviews of this book. My take on those reviews is that Susan was brave enough to expose her life and all of its intricacies so that others may benefit. it's called non-fiction i believe. And their love-making scenes, while not my taste, were real and far better than some made up, grody, milky-white-thigh-laiden romance novel.
We have just purchased a cruising boat and plan to leave with our little one when she's a little older. This book has taught me some things about cruising life. Thanks Susan for the honest account!