This post contains affiliate links. The storyline of Adrift by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart has the premise to make an exciting book. A man and a woman, Richard and Tami, young and in love, decide to take a job delivering a boat from Tahiti to San Diego. For many days they enjoy good weather and sailing conditions until Hurricane Raymond enters the scene. Despite Richard’s attempts to avoid the hurricane, it funnels right toward them. In a dark and terrifying night, Richard lashes himself to the cockpit and orders Tami below. She hears him shout, and then all goes dark. When she wakes up, the seas are calm. Richard is no where to be found.
This true story, which was made into a movie in 2018, seeks to explain what happened on that fateful boat trip. Even now, over 35 years later, Tami is frequently asked to speak to other sailors about her experience. So, clearly her story still fascinates the sailing world.
My Thoughts on Adrift
This should be a good, page turner, right? I was expecting to read something along the lines of Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, but no, it was nothing like that.
There were so many problems with this book. Most importantly, I felt like I never really got to know Richard and Tami. The authors especially reduced Richard, to a handsome British man who often said, “love,” as in “Hand me the rope, love.” I didn’t develop any insight into what type of man he truly was and why Tami was so in love with him except for his lapis lazulis blue eyes.
Also, the storyline was poorly organized. The writers write about the crash, but then abruptly switch to some memory Tami has about Richard and their time together in the past. Because the reader doesn’t have a good feel for their relationship and what they did together, these passages that cover the past seem abrupt and unnecessary.
Probably because I never came to know each character well, I had trouble understanding Tami. She is at sea alone for many weeks, but I didn’t feel the sense of despair and urgency she must have felt. I mean it’s there, but somehow it just came across as whining.
This book had so much potential, but it failed miserably to live up to it. I was annoyed with this book by page 100. However, I kept reading the additional 120 pages to see what would happen when she was finally rescued.
I give Adrift by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart 2 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.