Alone on a Wide Wide Sea: 06/06/11
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo for the longest while had the honor of being the second book on my wishlist. It had been on there I think since the book was first published. For whatever reason it doesn't seem to have been published here in the States even though many of Morpurgo's other books are in print here.
When the book came out I was very active in BookCrossing especially with book relays, rings and RABCKs (random acts of BookCrossing kindness). Although I don't remember receiving the book via the site, I did, a couple years ago. At the time I received the book I wasn't actively trying to read wishlist books. Thus, out of sight, out of mind.
Flash forward to June 2010. I am participating in the On My Wishlist meme. At the time I had 309 books on my wishlist and Alone on a Wide Wide Sea was number two. Except I had forgotten that I had a copy!
Go forward to the end of the year when I was culling my shelves for books I realized I would never read and should donate to the Friends of the Library. What does my hand fall on? Of course... Alone on a Wide Wide Sea.
The book takes its title from Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It's a poem I've read in pieces many times but still need to sit down and read as an epic poem. The poem itself provides the warp which the plot is woven through.
The book is told in two parts: Arthur Hobhouse's story of life in Australia as a transplanted WWII orphan and Allie Hobhouse's solo sailing trip to England to find her aunt. Arthur's story is one of trying to find a sense of family and belonging. Along the way he grows up and gains the skills he needs to return to England, namely, ship building.
The journey home though isn't Arthur's to take and must instead be taken by his daughter. At the time I was reading the book, there was a girl of similar age making a solo sailing journey around the globe. To keep herself sane on the trip she memorizes the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
At the close of the book Morpurgo explains that the book was inspired by actual families who were split up during the war and adopted off to families in Australia and Canada.