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GraysonReview - Grayson
by Lynne Cox
Highbridge Audio, 2006
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Dec 12th 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 50)

Grayson tells the story of a morning in the mid-1970s when Lynne Cox met a lost baby whale and helped it look for its mother on the Californian coast. Cox was 17 years old, but she was already a world-class swimmer, who had recently broken the world record for the fastest swim across the English Channel. She was very confident in the water and her writing shows how close she felt to the ocean. Yet her memoir is about a day from thirty years ago, and so it is hard to know how accurate her memory is. When she says that after she had been swimming her stomach started to rumble, one wonders whether she really remembers this, but it does make the narrative more lifelike. She writes as if the morning was in the recent past, and it may come as a surprise for readers to realize that Cox's encounter with the whale happened decades ago.

Nevertheless, Cox does manage to convey the wonders of the ocean and the marine life she meets. She describes different fish, turtles, sea birds, and of course the whale. She explains the movements of the water and the ways she used to use the vast power of the ocean to help her rather than let it crush her. She was such a strong swimmer that she was able to stay in the cold water for several hours without drowning. So in reading this short memoir, one gets some inking of what it is like to feel so comfortable in the ocean. When she meets the baby whale, she makes a connection. Often she describes the animal as if it had human thoughts and feelings, so it is no surprise when she decides to give it a name, Grayson. Indeed, she seems to think Grayson had telepathic powers, since she talked to him through her thoughts. So Cox's version of being in touch with nature is highly intuitive and even magical -- she feels the panic and playfulness of the whale, and she shares her love with him. Yet at the same time she provides plenty of scientific information about the lives of gray whales, and she explains clearly why she finds them such impressive creatures. Her writing is economical and fluid, and the book is a quick read.

Cox performs the unabridged audiobook herself. Her voice is slightly melancholy, and she sounds young, despite being in her late 40s, so listening to the book is an enjoyable experience. Her voice conveys her emotions well, and the listener is able to feel connected with both her and Grayson.

 

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2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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