Friday, May 30, 2014

Big Miracle

Big Miracle
Today I  finished reading Big Miracle by Tom Rose.  This book is the non-fiction story about three whales that were found trapped in the ice off of Alaska, and the public interest with media storm that led to a rescue attempt.  The author is one of the journalists who was in Alaska during a portion of the rescue.
The story itself is fascinating as far as how multifaceted this rescue became.  It went from a single Inuit finding the whales limited to a single open breathing hole to direct involvement from two governments and media coverage from several others.  I have vague memories of the event, but this is the first time that I can really say that I got the full story.  Thinking about life there at the top of the world was the other worthwhile part of the book.  It is so cold there that it is beyond imagination, and hearing about how unprepared the press was added some humor.
 Unfortunately it is obvious early on that the author mostly wanted to use the book as a platform for his snarky attitude, and political opinions.  The book had such a negative tone that 20 pages in I contemplated quitting.  
I also have to wonder if anyone proofread the book at all.  The redundancy and grammatical errors occurring throughout the book border on the ridiculous.  
He mentions on page 64 "To allow for late-arriving competitors and the rising value of a warm bed, the hotel started renting beds, as opposed to rooms."  Then on page 73 "The Top of the World Hotel started auctioning off beds, as opposed to rooms."
On page 98 "It was the wife of an oil executive who made Cindy promise never to identify her.  Cindy jokingly called her "Jane Whale."  then on page 99 ". . . Jane promised, who asked Cindy not to reveal her name."
He even introduced the names given to the whales on more than one occasion.  I mean, you could say the whales are the main characters of the story - wouldn't you just need to introduce them once?  
As for errors they are so numerous and glaring I wonder if he couldn't stand to read his own work.
Page 105 "He told her that Bill Allen not only authorized use of the barge and himself was on his way back to Anchorage."
 Page 147 ". . . while no one reported on his drinking, because he did not visibly drink anymore more than anyone else."
Page 233 "SAR went from flying three missions on Sunday, October 16, the rescue's second day, to more than just four days later."
There were also many instances where the author jumped from past tense to present tense and back again.  I would just expect better from someone who makes a living at communication.  Honestly I feel like a book written from the perspective of the Inuits would have been more enjoyable.
As for his snide tone and limited ability to mask his obvious disdain for left wing environmentalists you need only to open the book to a random page and read.  It bleeds through every page.  He repeatedly states that increased whale population should be directly accredited to the oil companies.  He states that polar bear populations are increasing.  He defends Reagan's environmental standings based on the idea that by improving the economy there is increased spending on unnecessary things  such as the environment.  Let's just say that if I were ever given the opportunity to sit down and have coffee with Mr. Rose I would decline.

All in all, I will never read this book again and I will never recommend it to anyone.

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