Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Review: Seven At Sea by Erik Orton and Emily Orton

Why a New York City Family
Cast Off Convention For A Life-Changing Year On A Sailboat
by Erik Orton & Emily Orton
Shadow Mountain Press
Family Non-Fiction / Parenting
352 pages

Working the night shift as a temp in a high-rise cubicle, Erik Orton knew something had to change. He felt the responsibility of providing for his wife and their five children—the youngest with Down syndrome—but craved a life that offered more than just surviving.
Watching the sailboats on the Hudson River during his sunset dinner breaks, Erik dared to dream. What would it be like to leave the hustle of the city and instead spend a year on a sailboat, somewhere beautiful, as a family? Despite having no sailing experience, his wife Emily’s phobia of deep water, and already stretching every dollar to pay rent and buy groceries, the family of seven turned their excuses into reasons and their fears into motivation. Sure, they would miss their friends, they could go broke, they could get injured or die. Worst of all, they could humiliate themselves by trying something audacious and failing. But the little time they still had together as a family, before their oldest daughter left for college, was drifting away. The Ortons cast off the life they knew to begin an uncertain journey of 5,000 miles between New York City and the Caribbean, ultimately arriving at a new place within themselves.
A portrait of a captivating and resilient family and a celebration of the courage it takes to head for something over the horizon, this is a deeply compelling story—told alternately by Erik and Emily—for all those who dream of leaving routine in their wake.


This is an inspiring story about a real life adventure, which still fits into the realm of reality and shows how life can follow different waves if only a person dares to give it a try.

Told in alternating viewpoints between Erik and Emily, the account of the family's adventure on a sailboat for a year is revealed with heart, humor and seriousness. Starting at the beginning, the first thoughts of sailing set in before the family—with five children—decides to turn their life upside down. The nice part about this recount is that the family isn't much different from many others. They weren't exceedingly wealthy, weren't overly experienced in the direction they chose, and their lives before weren't really different from many other American families. But they took the gamble and chased their dreams.

The experiences are told in a very natural form and give an honest glimpse at their daily lives, problems, and fun experiences. The challenges of living together, growing together and working with each other come across clearly. Some times the book moves a bit slow, but the open and honest style draws in and lets it hit home. The book shows that it is possible for a family to take a chance and do something completely out of the ordinary and gain from the experience. It's a great read, especially for parents and those who have considered flipping their own lives upside down and trying something which most wouldn't really try to do.

1 comment:

Christine Rains said...

This sounds like a fun and interesting read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!