A Pearl in the Storm follows the author as she attempts to become the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. In vivid, often jarring, detail the book charts McClure’s treacherous crossing during one of the worst hurricane seasons on record. This is a book of not only hard work, sweat, and tears, but also of sacrifice, risk, and perseverance, as McClure sets herself the task of rowing a 2,800 pound boat across 3,600 miles of open ocean.
This is not simply a book about physical challenge or determination, however. She is also well-versed in the science of tides and weather, the art and mechanics of boat building, and survival skills. And, McClure is an intellectual who derives strength from history and literature. Alone and vulnerable in the middle of the Atlantic, McClure travels the path of self-inquiry, relying on these disciplines to get through and make meaning of the three solitary months she spends on the water.
How to Get Your Copy
Copies of the book will be given with incoming students at Summer Orientation, but if you’re in the neighborhood, you can also stop by the Office of First-Year Experience to pick one up.
Events & Activities for 2014-15
You’ll read the book before you come to campus in August so you’re ready to participate in the Common Reading Initiative’s lectures, discussions, exhibits, films and activities, including:
Author Talk and Book Signing, 8 p.m., Sept. 24, Dibden Center for the Arts: Join us for an evening with Tori Murden McClure, who will discuss her life and some of her many adventures, including her solo row across the Atlantic. The evening will end with a question-and-answer session and a book signing.
Chesamore Cup Rowing Regatta, through Sept. 20: From the moment you arrive on campus for Fall Orientation until the evening of Sept. 20, this event will be in full swing. In McClure’s first month at sea, she rowed approximately 1350 miles across the Atlantic. Our goal is to collectively row the same mileage in the first month of the semester. It will take hard work and dedication to row all 2,172,609 meters (1350 miles), but with your help, it can be done!
Boatbuilding, throughout September: The JSC community will build three beautiful wooden boats on campus. Construction dates are: September 5, September 12 and September 19.
Willey Library Display: On her trip, McClure stowed away 10 pounds of books in her tiny “cabin.” Check out the display in the Willey Library and Learning Center to view the titles that inspired and carried her through three months alone at sea.
Gallery Talk: Art & Science in Chris Jordan’s Work (Thursday, October 16, 3 p.m., Julian Scott Gallery): On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. Join us for a presentation and discussion of that considers the aesthetic and environmental implications of this thought-provoking body of work.
Screening of MaidenTrip (November 10, 6 p.m. in Bentley 207): MaidenTrip follows 16-year-old Laura Dekker, a Dutch schoolgirl, as she becomes the youngest person to sail solo around the world. The film illustrates what an accomplishment this is as Laura charts her course, fights the elements, and manages being alone for days at a time. But, like McClure’s journey in A Pearl in the Storm, Dekker’s is equally an internal journey of personal growth and awareness.
Exhibit - Images of Tori’s Journey: Photographs from McClure’s crossing of the Atlantic will be displayed across from the Office of First-Year Experience in Dewey Hall starting in August. Stop by for an incredible visual guide of her journey.
Female Athletes from Vermont, March 2015: Vermont is home to a large number of extreme athletes and adventurers. Join us for a panel discussion with some of Vermont’s finest female athletes. The panel will discuss what it means to be both a competitor/explorer and a woman, including the many roles women play (wife, mother, caretaker, provider) and the societal expectations that accompany them.