In this debut memoir, a woman details her life-changing sailing experience in the Caribbean.
After her mother’s death, Bukruian buys a boat to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a “sea gypsy.” At the beginning of her journey, she meets a fellow sailor named Ed and quickly becomes infatuated. They then embark on a tumultuous journey in the Caribbean, each in their respective boats. Throughout her sailing experience, Bukruian learns how to be self-sufficient and manage unforeseen crises. Her dog, Kia, comforts her during difficult times. Together, they cope with disastrous events and navigate dangerous territories. The narrator vividly describes the idyllic locations and people she encounters on her trip. Though it’s clear this adventure is important to Bukruian, she provides so little back story about her pre-sailing life that it’s difficult to understand its significance. What, besides her mother’s death, compels her to take this risk? Despite the memoir’s subtitle, it doesn’t feel like a love story. Bukruian’s relationship with Ed remains ambiguous throughout the majority of the book. This ambiguity could have been an opportunity to build tension, but instead the relationship is simply perplexing. A few arbitrary jumps in time disrupt plot development, and tedious sailing details and wooden dialogue sometimes drain interest. A few typos and misspellings are also distracting. While Bukruian takes the reader along for a high-seas adventure, the reflection that’s necessary to contextualize how this changed her is scant. It’s apparent that the narrator is a strong woman by the actions she takes, but her inner state isn’t dramatized on the page.
An adventure story with an engaging plot but underdeveloped craft.