Not Without Hope
On February 28, 2009, Will Bleakley, NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, plus their personal trainer Nick Schuyler set out from the Florida coast to deep-sea fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The trip started rather uneventfully, the only abnormality being Nick’s seasickness due to the choppy waves that morning. As the day wore on, the waves became increasingly violent, and the group decided to head back to shore. When the anchor got stuck on the ocean floor, the young men, all in the best physical shape of their lives, tried pulling it up, but it would not budge. In a second attempt to free the anchor by using the power of the boat, the craft flipped, launching the athletes into the freezing waters of the Gulf of Mexico. All food, water, clothing, and means of communication were trapped under the boat, nearly impossible to reach. Not Without Hope, narrated by Nick Schuyler, the only survivor, tells the story of the friends’ struggle to work together for survival in the frigid Gulf waters.
I think that this is a Book Talk first: a nonfiction book. I had to read two nonfiction survival stories for an AP English project this summer, and this is one of them. Usually I am not a fan of nonfiction, (though Into Thin Air, an Everest survival story, is an exception) so it was interesting to read about actual events for a change. This story, narrated by the survivor, is very personal and makes you feel like you are there on the boat with the four friends. Schuyler's account of the story is very emotional and greatly affects the reader. Though the story can get repetitive at times, it gives an accurate account of the events, or at least as accurate as Schuyler remembers. I will admit parts of the story were very captivating, but since I knew that the events actually happened to people, it was not a pleasant book to read. The stress that Schuyler experienced is transferred to the reader, leaving you unsettled after reading it for long periods of time. Still, I do think that it is good to read stories like this to get an accurate account of such events. In fact, Nick Schuyler wrote the story for the very purpose of distilling any rumors about the accident.
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