Oceans Apart by Kevin McCarey
Oceans Apart is a story for anyone who has ever been struck by wanderlust. Kevin McCarey's memoir portrays the life of a young man who, armed only with his own youthful intrepidness, finds himself sailing on American merchant ships to adventures beyond his wildest imaginings. It is the characters he meets that ultimately illuminate what it means to explore the world: the Portuguese street girl he weds for a day -- the Italian villagers who steer him from certain danger -- the surly stevedore with a soft spot for Puerto Rico's poor -- the bookseller in war-torn Vietnam who lives only for poetry. Just as revealing are the flashbacks to the author's home turf, the Hudson River Valley. The stories of his flamboyant, half-cocked Irish-American family are as fraught and funny as the adventures overseas. McCarey shipped out during turbulent times, and his voyages range from delivering high explosives to Vietnam in floating rust buckets, to weathering a ferocious Atlantic hurricane in a dilapidated tanker. But for all the terrifying dangers, McCarey writes with a deep passion for the blue majesty of the ocean world. Oceans Apart: the Wanderings of a Young Mariner is a warm and compelling memoir; equal parts a rollicking sea yarn, an exotic travelogue and a classic coming-of-age story.