3 out of 4 stars
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Everyone loves an adventure, but not everyone is brave enough to live it. Larry Jacobson was brave, and he has chronicled his experience while circumnavigating the world in the book: The Boy Behind the Gate. In this piece, the author shows us how he accomplished his boyhood dream of touring around the world as the captain of his yacht. From Larry, I learned how important it is to have the courage to let go of the good and aim for the great, no matter the risk.
It was after a terrible childhood accident that Larry uncovered his passion for boats. As a young boat-racer, whenever he stood behind the Golden Gate, he watched ships leave their docks to travel the world and wished to be in their place. Even as a boy, Larry knew that all it would take to achieve his dream was a little patience and hard work. His perseverance led him to orbit the world for six years. Thus, the boy behind the gate finally became a sailor.
As an adult, choosing to leave for the sea came with difficult choices: Abandoning a well-paying job, leaving a life-partner of over twenty years, finding a suitable boat, and so on. Still, with the aid of his supportive family and friends, Larry completed his to-do list and set sail. While at sea, he found a new love in Ken and met many unforgettable new friends. However, just like everyday life on land, life while on a cruise is as tricky as ever. Will his relationship with Ken survive the turbulence of the sea? When Larry is ready to move back to life in San Francisco, how will he fit in? Through his journal entries, emails, and ship logs, we find out the answers and more.
Deserving of a rating of 3 out of 4 stars, this book was an eye-opening experience for me. Through Larry, I journeyed around the world and felt the waves of the ocean beat my body while filling my heart. There was mention of many countries that I had no idea existed. Not only did I learn their names, but I also got a glimpse into the cultural practices of these foreign lands. At first, the author used a narrative style. He later opted to use his journal entries, ship logs, and emails. By doing so, he gives the audience a firsthand, honest and direct experience of the cruising life. Every event followed a natural progression, as I was able to see the author’s childhood and the reason for his passion. The author also included pictures, which further heightened my feeling of being on the journey with him.
I appreciated that the author was honest about his experiences while being proud of who he is and accepting the mistakes he made. He made it clear that the cruising life is, in fact, not always a cruise. In between, there are hard decisions, constant repairs, fear of pirates, unending expenses, and strains in relationships. I loved that the author never hid the problematic parts. Instead, he turned his problems into lessons that people after him can emulate. Also, at the beginning of every chapter, there were quotes from renowned people that I found uplifting. It turns out that wisdom learned at sea can apply to the bustle of living on land.
While there was much to like about this book, I found it burdensome to read the author’s journal entries. This was because, at various points, they were too wordy. Also, it was challenging to keep up with the technical aspect of the book. The writer included many specialized navigation terms, whose meanings I often had to research. This disrupted my reading flow considerably. It would have been more helpful if there was a glossary explaining those terms. Owing to these reasons, I have deducted one star.
This book was professionally edited, as I only found minor errors. The author mentioned his being gay throughout the book, and so, I advise that anyone sensitive or opposed to such a lifestyle should not read it. While the book contains mild eroticism such as hugging and cuddling, it contains no profanity or vulgar language. I highly recommend this book to readers who want to live an adventure vicariously through someone else. I especially recommend this book to people interested in boat-cruising, as it can be a much-needed guide on things to do before the cruise, and more importantly, life on the sea.
The Boy Behind the Gate
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