As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

March 20, 2012

KON-TIKI, by Thor Heyerdahl, 1949

"Am going to cross Pacific on a wooden raft to support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru. Will you come? —Reply at once." That is how six brave and inquisitive men came to seek a dangerous path to test a scientific theory. On a primitive raft made of forty-foot balsa logs and named "Kon-Tiki" in honor of a legendary sun king, Heyerdahl and five companions deliberately risked their lives to show that the ancient Peruvians could have made the 4,300-mile voyage to the Polynesian islands on a similar craft. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by: Laina, a bookworm

Let me just say this, I am scared stiff of open water where I cant see what is underneath me. Sharks terrify me and I don't like seafood. But for some reason Kon-Tiki made me want to go sail the Pacific Ocean on a raft and eat glowing plankton like oatmeal. Even my mother was a little shocked when I declared my intentions to be a nautical explorer. I haven't gone sailing yet, but this book let me see the Ocean. I saw the wildness and beauty through the eyes of the daring Mr. Heyerdahl.

Kon-Tiki is a true story. Thor Heyerdahl (great name huh? cant imagine him as a little kid) led the voyage. He set out to prove a theory he had about how people reached Polynesia. People claimed that a balsa wood raft, which natives would have used, couldn't possible stay afloat long enough to reach land. Mr. Heyerdahl wanted to prove that the people of Polynesia had actually come from South America. So what would any normal person do to test a theory? Well Thor Heyerdahl would go make himself a nice little balsa wood raft and try to do what he claimed the Polynesians had done.
Mr. Heyerdahl sailed with five other men. I think it's funny that he made sure he chose men who didn't know each other previously. He knew that after spending a lot of time together in close quarters, one's temper could be, well, short.

Mr. Heyerdahl planned carefully, and he had to go through a lot to even get his raft and start sailing. Half the journey was getting started on the journey itself. I loved this book because of its rich description of the Pacific Ocean. It was so wild and beautiful. The raft was silent because it was moved only with a sail. One gets a much closer view of nature when one is quiet. The men on the Kon-Tiki expedition came into very close contact with Ocean life. Sharks came close enough to touch. There were fish that stayed with them during the whole watery voyage.

Thor Heyerdahl tells the story of his adventure beautifully. It is almost poetic at points and always gripping. A small part of me knew they were going to make it, but there was still the tingling of fear when large sea creatures got close and fierce storms battered their helpless raft. There was a wistful longing to go sailing, with nothing around but open Ocean as far as the eye can see, when I finished this book. So deep down inside, a little part of me longs for the Ocean, for freedom to  sail into the horizon and never look back.

Market: anywhere from early teens to adults, a documentary
Language: I don't recall any
Sensuality: none
Violence: none
Themes: exploration, adventure, the Ocean

Book formats:


MKHutchins said...

Hurrah for experimental archaeology! I've got to read this -- sounds great. Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds terrific! I am soooo terrified of sharks, so the fact that I'm even saying that I want to read a book where sharks come close enough to touch (GAH!) is a Big Deal. But you make it sound awesome, Laina. Thanks for the great review!