Skip to main content

Cannonball Read #16 & #17: The Poseidon Adventure & Beyond the Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico

I've combined these two books since they are for all intents and purposes a single story, albeit one that takes a very swift turn in the middle.

I have seen the original Poseidon Adventure, Poseidon--the version with Kurt Russell, as well as a few terrible rip-offs. The main idea is the same in each, though there are a variety of causes and specifics. Basically, a giant cruise ship is rolled over into an upside-down nightmare, and a small group of surviving passengers have to journey through the topsy-turvy world in an attempt to make it to the bottom (now top) of the ship where their best chance at rescue lies. The first book is really pretty excellent--there is a decent amount of action, as well as the exploration of human dynamics, and the various ways people respond to crisis. Some, like the Reverend Scott, take charge and lead as though it were something they had been born to do. Others--like Dick Shelby, his family, Mrs. Kinsale the spinster, and the Rosens, an elderly Jewish couple--prefer to be followers. Some, like small haberdasher James Martin, only show their heroic nature when there's no other option. And then there's detective Mike Rogo and his low-class wife Linda, who seem determined to resist authority at every turn. It's a varied group who need to work together in order to survive. They have a number of challenges to face and they lose some of the group along the way. However, they always manage to keep hope alive. There are some big differences from the movie--I imagine they wanted to keep things a little lighter and more optimistic for the viewing public--but on the whole it's close to the film and is a good, engaging read.

The second book, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure was written as a sequel not to the first book, but to the film. The premise is that three of the survivors (Mr. Rosen, Mike Rogo, and James Martin) go back onto the Poseidon to protect the cargo Rogo was guarding on the trip, only to find themselves having to deal with leftover survivors, a noble tug captain and his daughter, a seductive thief, a mysterious American mercenary, and a danger Greek assassin. The action roams through the ship, and involves trickery, love, and even a tiger! The story is a little over the top, and the characters seem a little less natural in this one. It seemed clear to me that this sequel was a bit forced, and lacks the complicated personal dynamics of the first book, leaning more on the action to do the heavy lifting. Still, it was an entertaining way to spend a few hours on a chilly afternoon.

As a note, aside from the tug boat and the Greek assassin, the movie of the same name (starring Sir Michael Caine and Sally Field) bears only the slightest resemblance to the book. It's a very entertaining movie--better, perhaps, than the book--but I didn't want you to be fooled.


Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CBR9 #2 - Southern Gods

I've had Southern Gods on my TBR list for so long I no longer remember why I put it there. Was it a recommendation from Amazon? From Goodreads? Did someone I know recommend it? Did it cross my path as a "If you liked __________ then you'll like this too!"

Maybe I heard it through the grapevine?

I only know that recently, I happened to come across it on my wishlist and decided to go ahead and splurge on it.

I'm glad I did.

In 1951 Memphis, war veteran and leg-breaker-for-hire Bull Ingraham gets a new assignment: a record company has lost one of their employees somewhere. Early Freeman set off to deliver new records to radio stations, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. His boss at Helios Records is anxious to find him...and also anxious to find a mysterious blues musician whose music can do terrible things to the living -- and to the dead.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Sarah Rheinhart leaves her abusive husband and returns to her family home, where …

CBR9 #3: Missing Wives, Missing Lives by JJ Slate

There's a lot of discussion these days about things that are dangerous to women--is it heart disease? Is it stress? Car accidents? Drugs? Serial killers? Trans women in bathrooms?--but it seems like one of the biggest hazards to women are the men in their lives.

This book details the cases of thirty women who vanished. Stretching back to 1976, and with cases as recent as 2007, the women featured in this book seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, never to be seen again. For some, the legal system was able to prove a case against the men in their lives, but for others, the search for justice may never be resolved.

The amazing thing to me was the stories that the husbands gave upon their wives' disappearances. "So, you had a fight, and she just left the house--at 3am. In her pajamas. Barefoot. Without her purse, or her glasses, or her car, or her TEETH? Leaving her small dependent children behind. And you decided to say nothing for three weeks? And while she was gon…