Title : Shanghaied
Author : David Paul Collins
Publisher : iUniverse
As we grow old we start leading a life of conformity.Teenage is an age of frivolity and often the course of choices made at this tender age decides the fate of life at a later stage.I picked up this book for review for 2 reasons.Firstly it is based on a true story an secondly it is an adventure on sea.Jack Sligo hails from a Boston-Irish family.He had read many magnificent stories on travel and had always wanted to write one of his own.He planned to run away from home, get a job on a cruise ship,travel around the world and then return back home.This would never have been an adventure worth narrating if the unprecedented did not take place.Shanghaied is a term originated on San Francisco’s Barbary coast when men were taken involuntarily to crew ships in the China trade.
Jack was no different kid as he also had a fantasy to see the world but the only difference was that he goes on to live the adventure.But he did not dream of getting shangahied into a cargo ship and of the rigorous labor that he had to undergo.What makes a man out of a boy is his ability to cope up with adverse situations,deal with new people,adapt to newer settings and learn as much as one can.On his maiden voyage he was ridiculed but evetually he learnt the art and got his due respect.He met many new people like Chipps, Winston,and Smitty.Not only did he experience the perils at sea but also the whole fiasco tested his decision making ability.The ship had a mix of good and bad people and Jack rightly associated with the good maintaining safe distance from the bad.The whole journey definitely made a sailor,a man out of him.To quote one of his lines which accentuates the points put,“It was time to make a resolution -no, a vow.Things would have to change.No matter what i had to do,I would do it.another of life’s hard lessons learned.I would never run out of booze again!.”
There are explicit maps and pictures which makes the setting very clear.The author has a very sound knowledge of sailing and ship terms especially the one about towing and the description when the ship gets stuck in a storm.The language is simple and easy to understand and a glossary of sea terms makes it quite easy to understand.The desperation of a sailor on reaching a port is well brought out in the book.
The tale has the component of friendship which bonds him to Winston.He finds a teacher in Chipps and an inspiration in his bosun.Struck in rather precarious situation in a Jungle he fights out extreme condition.Though at the end of the trip he is shriveled,has cuts and boils he learns his lesson.He finds out his weakness and promises to deal with it cautiously.It is a great tale which is readable and would enthrall any adventure lover.