Ten Degrees of Reckoning

Ten Degrees of Reckoning

A True Story of A Families Love and the Will to Survive

Book - 2009
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Publisher: New York, NY : Amy Einhorn Books, 2009.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2007
ISBN: 9780399155352
Branch Call Number: 910.916479 RUM
Characteristics: ix, 254 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Sleavin, Judith


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Oct 06, 2015

This is a powerful book about a terrible tragedy at sea. In the dark hours of the night, a freighter struck a yacht carrying a young family who were fulfilling their dream to sail around the world. The freighter was not displaying navigation lights and did not stop to search the area for survivors after the collision. Even though this occurred not far from the coast of New Zealand, there would eventually be only one survivor from the yacht. This survivor only clung to life so that the story of what happened could be told.
I remember hearing about this heartbreaking incident back in 1993 via brief news broadcasts. At the time, I thought to myself, "How awful!" I didn't stop to consider these people as real-life individuals with unique and wonderful personalities. The author, Hester Rumberg, has done a great job of bringing this wonderful family to life. Michael knitting his mother a woolen vest just using pencils. Mike pointing out to his wife, Judy, that his mother would think any gift made by one of her kids was the most beautiful present in the world. Judy's desperate attempts to stay alive so that her mother-in-law and her own mother would not have to wonder for the rest of their lives what happened to them all. Young Ben, who loved wearing a little captain's hat and being wrapped tightly in his blankets like a mummy. A young boy who wanted to marry his mother. Sweet, adorable Annie who wanted a puppy when they landed in New Zealand. A loving little sister who excitedly searched and found the perfect birthday gift for her older brother.
I will say that this story will haunt you - and your dreams. It also will make you angry. Hester summed it up nicely with "What kind of ship's crew would ignore its responsibility to use searchlights or deploy a small launch if they had any inkling that the ship had struck something?....Did he ask himself for forgiveness as Captain Ahab (in Moby-Dick) did? Or even feel the need to ask forgiveness?"
It is wonderful to see how the people of New Zealand came together to support Judy. It is my impression that the New Zealanders saved not only her physical life, but also her faith and spirit. Judy could say at the end of this ordeal that she still believed in God.

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