Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Motion of the Ocean by Janna Cawrse Esarey

Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife
by Janna Cawrse Esarey (website)
Memoir (Touchstone, June 2009)

Synopsis: One woman, one man, one boat, one ocean. Add all those together, and you get Janna Cawrse Esarey's profound memoir about her 2 1/2 year honeymoon spent crossing the Pacific Ocean with the man she loves. The story is as much about the love between two people as it is about the sea change of a breathtaking undertaking.

Note: Since this book is unlike what I normally review, I'm gonna change up my review categories just a little. But I will return to them again, next time, when I return to reading fiction. This book was just so different. I needed to change it up a little.

The Cosmo Factor: Janna
If I were rating this, I would give Janna (the author and heroine) a 26/25 in this area. I not only want to have a cosmo with the woman, I sort of want to gently stalk her. She reminds me so much of my friends, I felt like I already knew her, and was reading the journal of a trusted friend. Her cadence, the rhythm of her language, her optimism and realism, her love for Graeme while seeing him as he is... she is just endearing to me. But not in a way that makes me want to put the book down and think, "okay, I totally deserve her hero more than she does", and I like that. I liked about this memoir that she was real, but also that I wanted her (read: more than me) to end up with her hero. That takes talent. Honestly, though, the woman can write. I found myself laughing more often than not, but also crying and sighing and feeling. And that kind of emotional expatiation makes you want to go have a drink after. :-) But in a very good way.

The Dining Room to Bedroom Factor: Graeme
The thing I love the most about Graeme is that he has faults. In this real-life love story, you definitely fall for the hero. In fact, I want to clone him and sail across the ocean with him myself. When he grins at danger or gently tiptoes around his wife's emotions, I swoon. But what makes him really the stuff of legend is that he is real. He's got plenty of faults (and his wife doesn't tiptoe around those). But she also doesn't make his faults kneecap him. In fact, it's the real-ness of him that makes him so attractive to me, as a reader. I like the thought that this semi-romantic, good-hearted, adventurous man really exists, and that someone (namely the heroine) got to have a happily-ever-after (or at least happily-now-that-we-know-of) with this really great guy. Of course, it helps that I like her so much that I want her to end up with this prince. That's a problem I often have in romance novels. They write these great heroes, and then their heroines are not good enough for them. In this case, I think our hero and heroine are finely matched, and have a genuinely beautiful love story.

The Do As I Do Factor
I have a good friend who recently spent a year sailing across the world. Of course, I don't think they made it quite across the whole world. But the friend he went with owned the boat and had both my friend and another person with him for different legs of the journey. Anyway, when I listen to Jeremiah talk about that experience (or see pictures from the places they visited), I get that sort of pull, like... I want to try that one day. But reading Janna's book made me want to set off immediately and learn how to sail so I can, one day, follow in her footsteps. The book just so engages every one of your senses, you almost feel like you're out on the blue expanse of the ocean with them. And when the book is over, I not only want to read it again... I also want to take my own Graeme by the shirt collar and sail across the ocean with him.

As I write this, I am housesitting for a friend who is on her own adventure across the world. And just as Janna Cawrse Esarey left her beloved Scout behind, my friend Lynette has left her beloved Boo and Spooks behind, and is off making her mark on the world. It just reminds me how important it is to, as Janna says in the end of her book, do what you dream. This book will not only entertain and move you, but I predict it will also inspire you. To do what you have always dreamed you wanted to do. To cross the ocean, to cross the country, to cross the room, whatever it is you need to cross. We all need to cross something, and we have all dreamed of crossing something. What Janna Cawrse Esarey's book reminds me is that the crossing is what changes us. Not the decisions, not the big moments, but the journey. 

So regardless of whether you normally read nonfiction or not, I highly recommend you read this book. And then go and do whatever it inspires you to go and do. You will love the journey of this book (it is not unlike the journey of life itself), and it just might change you in the end.


Kimber Li said...


Gossip Cowgirl said...

Thanks for letting me do this book. It was fantastic!