LOVE WITH A CHANCE OF DROWNING
Author: Torre Deroche
Viking RRP $29.99
Review: Monique Mulligan
Heard the phrase ‘whatever floats your boat’? In urban-speak, it means ‘whatever soothes your soul’. For Australian woman Torre Deroche, the idea of circumnavigating the globe on a leaky sailboat did not ‘float her boat’ by any stretch of the imagination. And yet she did it for love. Love With a Chance of Drowning is her memoir about the year she and her man set sail for a voyage across the Pacific. It’s said that love can make a person do crazy things … Deroche is living proof of that!
Aged 24, Deroche met Ivan, a handsome Argentinean, in San Francisco. She wasn’t looking for a relationship – she’d promised her family she’d only be gone for a year and that she wouldn’t fall for an American – but a relationship, or rather, Ivan, found her. Technically, he was not American, she reasoned, so she wasn’t breaking any promises. That logic worked until she realised that a) she was in love with him and b) he was about to set sail around the globe, a long-awaited dream he had never kept from her. He wanted her to join him (cue an image of a silhouetted couple sailing away into the sunset together with a heart shape framing the words ‘and they lived happily ever after’); she was scared of deep water. And there was the other half of the promise – the bit about coming home after a year.
What’s a girl to do? Wake up and find herself adrift in the middle of the stormy Pacific, it would seem. Everything happened very quickly once Deroche agreed to give it a try. One day she was researching supplies and reading others’ accounts of solo circumnavigations, the next she was on her way back home … the long way. Her former sophisticated city life quickly became a memory as she tried to keep a boat, a new relationship and her sanity afloat … in between bouts of seasickness. As she adjusted to her new seafaring life, Torre discovered not only a host of exotic destinations, but a lot about herself, her dreams, and the man she loved.
I really enjoyed reading this memoir; I love books about travelling and living in places I’ve never been to. With four kids still at home, my travelling days are yet to come, so I travel vicariously those kind enough to share them in writing. The idea of sailing around the world isn’t on my bucket list, but I admire Deroche for taking the risk – ultimately her gamble turned out to be valuable life experience. I think if I did do something like that, I would do exactly what Deroche did to prepare – read, read and read some more. Basically over-think the whole situation. I could completely relate to her need to plan for every crisis and enjoyed her self-deprecating way of sharing this. Deroche is candid about her fears and anxieties, making for a honest and funny account of her journey, but it is her curiosity about the world out that truly engages the reader and takes them on a most hearty ride.
Love With a Chance of Drowning had its beginnings in a blog, The Fearful Adventurer. I checked it out after finishing the book and I love its layout and content. For those interested in Deroche’s journey from being self-published to landing a big and exciting publishing deal, click here. Although Deroche hesitates to call herself a writer (she calls it the ‘W’ word), I’m in no doubt that her talent for witty, creative and engaging self-expression is limited to graphic design, and I’m keen to read more about her life’s adventures.
Available from good booksellers and Penguin Books Australia. This copy was courtesy of Penguin Books.
Here’s a trailer for those interested: