The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

Before I started reading The Perfect Storm, I read some other book reviews. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve seen the movie, and the reviews were mostly positive but they did mention that it wasn’t exactly written like a story. It was more of a collection of interviews alongside technical information about what happens to a boat in the middle of a storm.

What I really liked about this approach was that it didn’t try to romanticize the story. In the movie, it’s very much about Mark Wahlburg’s character, Bobby and how he’s dealing with the situation while his girlfriend is home waiting to hear news. The book has a lot about how she was feeling during the whole ordeal, but it felt more like a factual re-telling of the events rather than the emotional story of their relationship and the loss that she was experiencing. It was different, but I liked it.

As someone who studied journalism, I kept feeling like I was reading a long form article on the whole event. The majority of the story was about what happened around the Andrea Gail during the storm, like what other boats were experiencing at the same time and how they didn’t think they were going to make it.

I do think it spent wayyyy too much time discussing the other ships. There were so many details about them that I didn’t care about, I found myself reading/glimpsing through it quickly just because I didn’t care.

I also now know way more about swordfishing than I ever thought I would. Some of the technical stuff was definitely hard to get through, mostly because I wasn’t really interested in it and I really wasn’t trying to learn about it. I couldn’t tell you anything about it today.

While I did like the approach, I really yearned to know what was happening on the Andrea Gail. I know that the author wanted to stay factual, so couldn’t fictionalize scenes from the boat, but it really felt like something was missing from the whole story.

Overall, I think that the book is a good partner to the movie. This gives you the facts and more insight into the technical world of fishing, while the movie gives you the fictional reenactment that you really want after reading this. It definitely makes you care more and understand what it could have been like.

I definitely think that people who like the movie should read the book to have a full understanding of the whole story. It makes it much more than a sad movie starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlburg.

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