Sunday, October 12, 2008

HIPPIE CHICK by Joseph Monniger

If I heard someone else say this about a book, I would immediately roll my eyes and decide to skip reading it, but here goes ... HIPPIE CHICK is a beautiful book! Seriously, if you have a chance to read it, run, don't walk, and grab the chance.

Lolly Emmerson is an independent fifteen year old who sets out for an evening sail in the Florida Keys. She leaves a note for her mother as her neighbor suggests and heads out in the small boat she has handled by herself on countless sails. This time events conspire against her when the boat hits some underwater wreckage causing it to overturn. Lolly is thrown overboard with only her lifevest for support.

After hours of struggle and a bump against her leg she is sure is a bull shark, she manages to climb onto the floundering boat. Her fragile hold on the disabled craft doesn't last long, and she slips back into the water, and what she believes to be certain death.

As Lolly beautifully relates her story, she describes the arrival of three manatees. One of the huge, gentle creatures allows her to cling to him as they make their way to a feeding area in a tiny mangrove bay. Lolly credits the manatees with her eventual rescue, but once rescued, she finds it difficult to relate her curious adventure to news reporters and interested friends.

Many authors of survivor tales focus on frightening, desperate attempts to beat nature and hang on until help arrives. Joseph Monninger tells this story in a different way. The focus is on the mysterious, sensitive side of nature. Lolly experiences a deep connection to her manatee rescuers that only she can understand. Monninger gives readers a peek into Lolly's emotional, life-changing experience.

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