AN OCEAN TO CROSS by Liz Fordred
Kirkus Star


Daring the Atlantic, Claiming a New Life
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A spirited story of adventure on dry land and the high seas.

In 1971, Fordred, a capable young equestrienne, was thrown from a horse and left paralyzed from the waist down. Quite naturally she was deeply depressed, but she soon replaced self-pity with a zeal for autonomy and the motto “If I need help I will ask for it.” Teaming up with a high-school classmate who was recently paralyzed in an automobile accident, she decided to take on some challenge that would prove to all around her that paraplegia was a mere inconvenience. That challenge became considerable when she and her husband Pete set out to build a boat in what was then the landlocked nation of Rhodesia, haul it to South Africa, and sail off for America. The first problem, of course, was that Rhodesia was under UN economic sanctions (another mere inconvenience, Fordred writes in a knowing aside, inasmuch as most governments of the world ignored those sanctions in order to get Rhodesian chromium), and it was therefore often difficult to find the raw materials needed to make a seaworthy vessel. The second problem was coming up with the money to pay for those materials once they were found. Eventually the Fordreds built their craft, negotiated its passage to water through a bewildering array of bureaucratic obstacles (“Pete and I were accustomed to restrictive and ridiculous government logic and innovative ways of circumventing it”), and floated off across the stormy, nausea-inducing seas to St. Helena, the Brazilian coast, the Caribbean, and finally Florida—where, in 1987, they applied for and were granted US residency. “The ultimate irony of our venture,” the author notes in closing (in a rare moment of complaint), “is that after everything we put into making our dream a reality, we didn’t like sailing.”

Highly inspiring for the disabled, and for anyone interested in making an adventure of life.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-07-135504-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2000


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