Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler ~
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book tells the story of 4 men who go on a guy’s fishing trip. One of the men was getting ready to leave for NFL training camp (2 were on NFL teams and all had at least played in college) and this was going to be their last time together for the foreseeable future. What should have been a great day of relaxation turns into 2 days of terror after a series of bad luck and bad decision making ends in their boat being overturned 70 miles off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Four men leave on the boat and only makes it home alive after he watches helplessly as all of his friends succumb to hypothermia, dehydration and exposure.
I have read several “survival” type books such as “Icebound” and “Alive” and it’s sad that you generally always know how the story will end. Although I have no idea what any of these people have gone through, these stories draw me in as the writers generally paint such a vivid picture of their suffering and their sheer will to survive.
At times I felt so sorry for this gentleman (Nick Schuyler) and at other times, I was absolutely disgusted by him. Did he really need to tell the reader about blowing snot rockets in the water? Was it absolutely necessary to inform the reader about the scabs all over his genitals (in disgusting slang terms that even the Coast Guard had to ask him to clarify). Did he have to talk about his genitals for about 50% of the book and talk about how much he worked out (he is a personal trainer and it shows, a lot) the other 50%?
When Schuyler is rescued (after 2 days of dehydration, hypothermia and starvation) and looks down at his abs, here are his comments in the book…
“I could see every single muscle in my stomach. I was shredded. I looked like I had worked my abs for five hours a day for five weeks…not bad, I thought to myself.”
…I lost most of my empathy for him. Then a few pages later he thanks his agent, PR team and production company. Three others died and it can be assumed their families might read this book. I think these things were tactless and I think a competent editor would have probably agreed. I’ll admit, these things made me angry for the victims’ families. I don’t think it’s necessarily Schuyler’s fault, he doesn’t claim to be a writer. But if one writes….
I think the real problem with this story (and what kept it from getting at least 3 or 4 start from me) was simply the total lack of editing. I believe a good editor can turn anyone into at least a decent writer. This is a fascinating story and even though there was a published author listed as writing this book as well, there were far too many grammatical errors to ignore and this book was obviously not written with the idea of engaging a wide audience in mind. I think many will not like this book and I would definitely not recommend it for anyone who gets offended easily (or not so easily) or for children. I think this book makes Schuyler look like equal parts hero and equal parts meathead. And that is just sad, for both Schuyler and the victims’ families.
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