The Stranger in a Lifeboat
“The Stranger in the Lifeboat” was a last-minute book I decided to read because it was short and by Mitch Albom. I liked parts of this book, but not other parts. And by “not other parts,” I mean most of the book. And the ending. I really didn’t like the ending. “The Stranger in the Lifeboat” is about just that, ten strangers adrift in the ocean after a yacht sank. Why it sank, who caused it, and why these ten people survived are all part of the mystery. Nine of the people are all different nationalities, religions, and come from different walks of life (from the owner of the yacht down to the chef and his wife). The tenth person, however, declares “I am the Lord.” Is he God? Or just a dehydrated lunatic? These questions follow the other nine survivors as they try to adjust to their new harsh reality. Does this plot sound familiar? To me, this is “Tuesdays with Morrie” meets “Life of Pi” meets “Unbroken.” It’s an intriguing plot and well-told, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it’s already been done. Plus, as is the current literary fad, the story switches between present day, where an inspector finds a notebook written by Benji, a survivor in the lifeboat, and the past, when Benji is telling his story firsthand. I am just very over this switching-every-chapter technique! By the time I got to the ending, I was just trying to stay afloat with this book (pun intended!) and get it finished. I think readers would do well to stick with “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “Life of Pi” instead.