Reader reviews and comments on A Pearl in the Storm, plus links to write your own review.

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A Pearl in the Storm

How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean

by Tori Murden McClure

A Pearl in the Storm
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 304 pages
    Apr 2010, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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There are currently 20 reader reviews for A Pearl in the Storm
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CarolK (06/04/11)

An Inspiring Adventure
This is my kind of book. It's not only that I live vicariously through adventures such as this but that I also get a bang out of the determination, strength, and discipline exhibited by women such as Tori Murden McClure. Her goal; to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Building, determining supplies, and preparation of The American Pearl are interesting to read about. Fitting her 6ft frame into the confined space of her sleeping chamber, which she describes as the width of two coffins and not high enough to sit upright and the thought of people deprivation (at least 100 days alone and phone that malfunctions) made me a bit edgy but didn't seem to faze McClure. Repairs, storms, finding dead squid on deck were more than I could dream of handling but most seemed to be all in a day's row for her. One thing that did throw her into a tizzy was reaching for a chocolate power bar and finding apricot instead.

As much as I was fascinated by the actual diary type journey as Tori rowed across the Atlantic, this could have gotten boring as each day was repetitious out of necessity. I think she knew she had to give us a bit more so rowing days are broken up with chapters about her early life, particularly with stories about her mentally disabled brother, Lamar. Lamar and often Tori, were the brunt of the cruelty that only kids can inflict making Tori her brother's keeper in the true sense of the word, defending him against rocks and slurs. She was a fighter and this caused many problems particularly with her mother. If you believe life's knocks make you stronger, you can see how Tori became the woman she did. Not only a superior athlete she became an excellent student and graduated from Smith, went on to Harvard and after passing the bar eventually becomes the first non-catholic woman president of Spalding University.

Back to the rowing and her goal. That Tori fails in her first attempt and goes on to try it again and succeeds is incredible. In the end though, I still feel there is much that McClure left out; back story that she chose not to share. She mentions many friendships but she keeps the details of these to herself. Her mother, her father; no clue as to what happened to them. Her grandfather told her when putting her story down on paper that it should be a romance. Tori does find love and marries before she attempts the second crossing but other than his help in the project and some butting of two strong personalities we don't hear much about the marriage leaving me to believe the true romance here is The American Pearl.

Despite what I think was lacking, there really is a lot to the whole. Pearl in the Storm is in the end an uplifting memoir. It is a good pick for high school readers, fans of books about strong women, and anyone who likes to read about a winner and how they get to be that way.
Carole Scureman (11/20/10)

A Pearl in the Storm - you won't be able to put it down!
I chose this book for our book club because I had read it when it first was published and I really liked it. Reading it the second time was even more interesting. I found it fascinating to read about what happened to Tori Murden McClure when she was rowing across the Atlantic and just as interested in her life. It is a book you can't put down. Her descriptions of what happened to her during the huge storms (hurricanes) she encountered were breath taking. Tori Murden McClure is a very extraordinary woman. Everyone in my club really liked the book. I highly recommended it.
Reader (08/27/10)

My Review
This book was a required summer reading book for my high school as well as many others. While reading it, I got very bored very fast and could barely give the book my full attention for more than five minutes. I was constantly picking up this book and putting it right back down, all summer long. After approximately a month and a half, I finally finished reading the book. I can't say that I enjoyed more than a few pages of this entire book. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions, so if you enjoyed the book, I am very happy for you. I, on the other hand, do not recommend this book to anyone-whether you are a teenager or an adult, I do not see why anyone would enjoy this story.
eva (03/15/10)

love this book!
I am a 12 year old girl who decided to read this book when hearing about my mom reading it. And i must say this is a very inspiring and AMAZING book. If you haven't read this book... YOU SHOULD!
Connie (09/02/09)

Failure to Connect the Dots
While Tori Murden writes a fascinating description of her personal journeys (inner and outer), she fails to share with us the causes of her emotional torments. Reading between the lines, it looks as though this woman grew up feeling unprotected, unsupported, and very probably unloved. Who beats up their daughter and throws her into a dog kennel to teach her a lesson? Because she constantly feared corporal punishment, she was unable to seek help from her parents during her most vulnerable years. As readers we need to know that through her journeys, she was able to come to understand her behavior by facing what happened to her as a child. That appears to be entirely missing from her read on her own experience. Surely, the book cries out for the real explanation as to why she was so driven and why she felt so worthless.
Maggie (04/20/09)

Definitely a pearl
Being a person that doesn't really like being in or on the water, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this story. I was pleasantly surprised. The author is very gifted in story telling. It took me on an adventure I wouldn't have been able to take other wise. My only complaint would be that I was irritated with the authors need to keep reminding me that she is intelligent. I'm sure there are better ways to express that in writing without having to come out and say it.

It's well worth reading. I would have given it a rating of 5 if not for my one complaint.
Theresa (04/20/09)

Great Story
I truly enjoyed the writing style of this author - it was the type of book you put down and looked forward to getting back to. The story was extremely fascinating and kept me wanting to know more. This is definitely a book I would consider for our book club - I think there would be some great discussions about it.
Cathy (04/20/09)

Excellent adventure!
This was an amazing book from a truly amazing person. Tori Murden McClure has led a fascinating life and does a great job of sharing it with us. The style of writing made the book move quickly and the story was interesting. I can not get over the experiences she had out on the ocean! It took a lot of courage for her to do what she did, not just rowing across the ocean but all the choices she had to make over her life. Kudos to Tori for putting it all down on the page for us. Book clubs get ready for a great discussion after this read. It should motivate all of us to strive for better and to never give up.
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