Lynne Cox, Author . Knopf $18.95 (147p) ISBN 978-0-307-26454-1

On a clear California morning when Cox (Swimming to Antarctica ) was 17 years old, she had an unusual experience that stayed with her for 30 years, creating a spiritual foundation for her personal and professional success. In this slim and crisp memoir, Cox details a morning swim off the coast of California that took an unexpected turn: returning to shore, she discovered that she was being followed by a baby gray whale that had been separated from its mother. As Cox developed a rapport with the whale, she took on the responsibility of keeping it at sea until it was reunited with its mother. Cox expertly weaves fine details together, from the whale's mushroomlike skin to how other fish react to such a large creature. At times Cox's prose is uneven, alternating from emotional to factual, but her pure joy at connecting with Grayson (her name for the baby whale) overrides any technical inconsistencies. The combination of retelling her once-in-a-lifetime experience with her observations on life ("If I try, if I believe, if I work toward something... the impossible isn't impossible at all") will have timeless appeal for all ages. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 05/01/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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