Book review: Rowing for my life; two oceans, two lives, one journey


Written by Syeda Fizza Batool,
‘Rowing for my life; two oceans, two lives, one journey’ is not just merely a name of the book. It’s the pages of life weaved handsomely and attractively into the threads of words. Kathleen Saville, the writer, is a woman whose life changed on the fluttering, choppy and wild waves of ocean. She is the first woman to row across the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean with her husband. She has two honors of Guinness world record to be first woman to row across north Atlantic and across oceans. She has been into Pakistan, Kuwait and Egypt. Currently, she teaches at American University in Cairo. She lives in Cairo, Egypt and also in derby line, Vermont.
The story begins when she was nothing but just a regular college student who did not want to just spend her life being so typical and nobody. A rough life to which she was not made for. She had a desire and quest to do something challenging which ultimately led her to join the women’s crew team in her college. The turning point of her life was her meeting with the Curt at Narragansett boat club. Soon after her marriage with Curt, she suggested to do something new and challenging in their life. A life of their own choice, with their own privacy, choices and their own free will of adventures and exploration governed by them. She knew that she was not made for something conventional orthodoxical and so unadventurous. Kathleen was sick of these imprudent lives which gives nothing except of just going to work and earning a little. Her passionate love for rowing liberated her to the gigantic and massive world of ocean.
Kathleen and Curt with limited and inadequate resources and expense built their own 25 feet long row boat. Together they built their row boat and in 1981 rowed across the North Atlantic Ocean. They faced enormous amount of complications and hardships in their voyage. Deteriorating weather, sudden waves, and storms at sea made their journey complex and full of adventure but despite of what came in their way and what they had come across. Their passion led them to safely end in successful landing. Three years spending on land they then again decided to explore new world of South Pacific Ocean.
Journey at south pacific was not as it was at Atlantic, full of adventure and thrills but here it was embedded with miseries and complications. Besides sea storms and evil eyed weather, they lost their sextant and were lost at sea. Their food was at completion and they were at a sudden need of some land. Things were getting worse but then a miracle of island happened and situation got some better. Kathleen got pregnant and life in such circumstances was not an easy task at sea. Navigating through stars, moon, sun, and landing on different islands and seeking help from natives, finally they completed their row. A thrilling and life loving adventure it was. This was really and in true sense row for life. It was not a journey of two lives but of three lives. Her child, Christopher was born in Morag, VT in 1986. After that they sailed across different seas and rivers. She traveled to Pakistan Egypt, Kuwait for work and to support her family. A dreadful event happened in 2001, when Curt died after trekking mishap in Egyptian desert.
Living such a life of choice was not calm and smooth but Kathleen did it quite well. She left the rotten life and lived her most memorable and precious time in ocean with her partner and love. This story is a perfect example of determination, love and the quest of exploring something new. The portrayal of every incident and circumstances by the writer is so absolute and engaging. As a novice explorer she rowed across two oceans and learnt many great things in her life. Her life changed completely after her first successful attempt to row across South Atlantic Ocean.
Kathleen shares some pictures of her expedition and life in her book that adds to the beauty and attractiveness of her autobiography and gives the reader a clear image and deep insight to the story. These images reflect some moments described in the story and one can feel as all had been passed by his eye.
One could only think of living with sea creatures and seeing them so closely without any protection and guard. But Kathleen and his late husband shows to the reader that nothing is impossible if you really want to do something. There comes nothing in between passion and so Kathleen proved it all.
Kathleen’s choice of words was absolutely stunning and according to the situation. The way she structured her biography and structured the events befell upon them is so appealing and breathtaking. Audience can only feel it in real sense with having a great taste in adventure and exploration. She in a real sense give her writing a picturesque and imagery quality. Reader can feel it and see all that has been described in the book by the images of words.
Kathleen is a model and an inspiration for young women, who want to excel in the fields they love to but could not. She proved that life is not easy and happy but your choice of how you can live it can make a difference. This book is not for only explorer and adventurers but it is for the people of every age group. I would suggest everyone to read this book once in a life and look what is said in between the lines. Men of high exploring qualities and fond of having thrills and adventures are highly recommended to read it. This is a true account of how to live a life, denying the socially accepted norms of sitting in a cabin at some office and earning just a little money that gives you nothing but tiredness and tensions.
(The first ever review written on this book is writer by Fizza Batool who is MS Scholar in Linguistic in Air University Islamabad. She can be contacted at email: [email protected])


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here