Motion of the Ocean (Review)

Labels: A Lighter Touch


The Motion of the Ocean
Janna Cawrse Esarey, 2009
336 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2009

She calls him an a**hole in the very 1st sentence: he's the skipper of the boat...and also her husband. Yet by the 3rd sentence, you're feeling the initial pangs of love (this is a guy who cooks; need I say more?); by the 3rd chapter, you're completely hooked. Husband-skipper Graeme is a champ and a heart throb.

But this is Janna's story—and so, you wonder, what's wrong with her? That's the real subject of this charming, humorous travel memoir.

Newly weds, Janna and Graeme, with a 10-year on-again-off again history, decide to sail the Pacific Rim—from Seattle to Central America, the South Sea islands, Hong Kong, and back home to Seattle. In two years.

It is, of course, a journey of self-exploration, and Janna hides nothing: her insecurities, her defensiveness, a paralyzing stubbornness and self-righteousness, frequent crying jags, and a penchant to over-analyze everything—from her marriage to determining the best toilet stall in a restroom. In short, she's human.

She's also self-aware, self-deprecating, and courageous. Like all of us, she's struggling to find her way (on the ocean and in her marriage)—an effort which will endear her to anyone who picks up this delightful, funny, and smart book.

Lots of fascinating information, too—about boats, ocean cruising, geography, weather, island culture, and the close-knit-yet-far-flung network of people who exchange land-locked lives for the motion of the ocean. There's even a riff on the color blue, like Melville's famous chapter on white. And for book clubs? A terrific read: lots of grist for the mill...or wind for your sails.

Be sure to see our Reading Guide for The Motion of the Ocean. Oh, and watch the neat video trailer on Janna's website. It's a hoot.

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