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Martin's Must Reads: 'The Stranger in the Lifeboat'

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“When we pulled him from the water, he didn’t have a scratch on him. That’s the first thing I noticed. The rest of us were all gashes and bruises, but he was unmarked, with smooth almond skin and thick dark hair matted by seawater.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are the first lines from Mitch Albom’s newest novel The Stranger in the Lifeboat. Ten of the forty-four people who sailed out on a luxury yacht have survived its sinking. Jason is the owner of the yacht, Nevin, Geri, Yannis and Mrs. Laghari are influential world leaders, Jean, Bernadette and Benji worked on the yacht, and Alice is a little mute girl. The eleventh, the man they pulled from the water, says he’s the Lord.

The chapters alternate between Sea, Land and News. The Sea is a diary that Benji writes to his wife describing their attempts to survive. The Land narrative follows the inspector of a Caribbean island one year later when the empty lifeboat with the diary are found on one of its beaches. The News is reporters commenting on the finding of both the lifeboat and the sunken vessel as well as the bios of some of the boat passengers.

One of Albom’s publicists wrote, “In his books, Albom has taken the reader to the celestial realm to seek meaning in our corporeal existence.” The final paragraph of the book reads, ”In the end, there is the sea and the land and the news that happens between them. And to spread that news, we tell each other stories. Sometimes the stories are about survival, and sometimes those stories, like the Lord above, are hard to believe. Unless believing is what makes them true.”

If you’re a fan of Tuesdays with Morrie, then you must read The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.
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