Friday, March 15, 2019

Backlist Fiction/Nonfiction Mini-Reviews: A Storm Is Coming

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger (1997)

In The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger recounts a massive storm that hit the Atlantic in October of 1991 and the lives it affected.  I remember watching the movie of the same name years ago, and so I wanted to read this book to help fill in the gaps.

Probably the most well-known fact about the storm, for me at least, is the loss of the fishing boat Andrea Gail and its crew.  Unfortunately, even with all the research in the world, no one will ever know what actually happened to them.  The men were out of radio contact for several days, and very little of the boat was ever found.  Junger can only speculate what the men's final hours were like.

However, that's not the only case he discusses in the book.  He goes into great detail about the lives of fishermen.  I really got a sense of how dangerous the work is, how transient their lifestyle can be, and, surprisingly, how often they have premonitions.  Junger also recounts several other sinkings and rescues during the storm.  He switches around between the different stories a lot, which sometimes got confusing with all the names, but it was still a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking read.  4 stars

 
Under a Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye (2015)

In Heron Key, Florida, already-strained tensions are put to the test when a local woman is beaten almost to death and a hurricane bears down on the community.

First off, I loved the setting of this book - Lafaye did such a great job bringing the beach town to life.  I could practically feel the humidity as I was reading.  The story takes places in 1935, and although the Depression didn't hit this area of the country as hard, the people still faced problems, which were exacerbated by an influx of WWI veterans (both white and black) who were brought in to work on public works projects.  The characters were very complex, and the racial tensions were evident in almost every social class.  Black veterans who were embraced by the Europeans during the war came back to a country that still treated them horribly.

The massive hurricane that strikes the town took up a large portion of the book, but I didn't mind.  I was practically on the edge of my seat, wanting to know who would make it through the storm.  Overall, this was a well-written and engaging story about love, family, and racism.  4 stars

18 comments:

  1. Nice reviews, Angela. I read The Perfect Storm a long time ago and now reading your review I'm a little surprised that I read it at all. Back when it came out I so rarely read nonfiction. Someone must have suggested it to me because I don't think I'd have found it on my own. Under A Dark Summer Sky also sounds really good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susie! I was mostly interested because I had seen the movie and kind of wanted to see how it compared, how it really happened.

      Delete
  2. I actually don't remember the movie anymore so reading the book would probably feel like something new for me now
    Under A Dark Summer Sky looks really good and a bit nail biting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Under a Dark Summer Sky was a bit of a nail biter! When the hurricane is coming through, I was really worried about who would make it through.

      Delete
  3. I remember watching the movie of The Perfect Storm and it really made an impact on me because I think it's already 15 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the movie is pretty old! But yeah, I still remember it, too!

      Delete
  4. Great reviews, Angela. I remember reading The Perfect Storm when it came out and thought it was a pretty incredible read. I actually don't think I ever watched the movie so I may have to go back and do that at some point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't even know there was a book until recently!

      Delete
  5. Those look like fascinating non-fiction reads. I remember when the movie came out but it's been so long. It would be great to read the book.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember watching The Perfect Storm in high school, and I swear I still have nightmares. When the one guy gets a hook snagged in his hand?! I will never forget that. It's also such a memorable movie, and it breaks my heart every time I think about it. I don't believe I'll read the book, the movie was traumatic enough, but I also didn't know there was a book! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's scary! I can't imagine being out there on the sea during a monster storm, and then of course we know none of them are going to survive.

      Delete
  7. Sounds like a perfect storm of elements were woven together well in Under a Dark Summer Sky.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I’ve wnated to read both of these for a long time, Angela! Wonderful reviews!
    Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ohh, these both sound good. I also watched The Perfect Storm. I guess I should have read the book first. I will get working on that. The second one sounds just as good. I will
    have to get both of these.

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I watched the movie years ago, not even knowing it was a book!

      Delete

I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!