Ten Degrees of Reckoning

Ten Degrees of Reckoning

The True Story of A Family's Love and the Will to Survive

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A profoundly powerful and inspirational memoir. In 1993, Judith and Michael Sleavin and their two children set out to live their dream: to sail around the world. But one night, a freighter off the coast of New Zealand altered its course by a mere ten degrees. And changed everything. After surviving forty-four hours in the water, with a back broken in several places and paralyzed below the waist, Judith miraculously survived. Doctors would later say she suffered one of the worst cases of post-traumatic stress syndrome ever documented. News of the collision made headlines around the world, but, distraught, Judith never talked to the press. Her body was broken, and so was her soul. Twelve years later, Judith turned to her best friend, Hester Rumberg, and asked her to write what was too painful for her to write. The result is a gripping, unbelievable yet true story of one family’s love, of profound loss, and of a remarkable woman who decided to live when others might have decided otherwise. But always it is a stunning account of survival, a meditation on the strength of friendship and community. It is a universal tale of how any of our lives might be unexpectedly altered, how we might have to change what we hope for, and how we can move forward in times of tragedy. Judith Sleavin now divides her time between Portland, Oregon, and New Zealand.
Publisher: New York : Amy Einhorn Books, 2009.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780399155352
Call Number: 910.9164 RUMBERG
Characteristics: xi, 254 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm
Subjects: Sleavin, Judith.
Sleavin, Judith -- Family.
Melinda Lee (Sailboat)
Pan Grace (Cargo ship)
Shipwreck victims -- United States -- Biography.
Shipwreck victims -- New Zealand -- Biography.
Survival -- New Zealand.
Shipwrecks -- New Zealand.
Boating accidents -- New Zealand.
Cargo ships -- Korea (South)
Shipwreck survival -- New Zealand.
Survival at sea -- New Zealand.
Airplane crash survival -- New Zealand.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 06, 2015

This is a powerful book about a terrible tragedy at sea. In the dark hours of the night, a freighter struck a yacht carrying a young family who were fulfilling their dream to sail around the world. The freighter was not displaying navigation lights and did not stop to search the area for survivors after the collision. Even though this occurred not far from the coast of New Zealand, there would eventually be only one survivor from the yacht. This survivor only clung to life so that the story of what happened could be told.
I remember hearing about this heartbreaking incident back in 1993 via brief news broadcasts. At the time, I thought to myself, "How awful!" I didn't stop to consider these people as real-life individuals with unique and wonderful personalities. The author, Hester Rumberg, has done a great job of bringing this wonderful family to life. Michael knitting his mother a woolen vest just using pencils. Mike pointing out to his wife, Judy, that his mother would think any gift made by one of her kids was the most beautiful present in the world. Judy's desperate attempts to stay alive so that her mother-in-law and her own mother would not have to wonder for the rest of their lives what happened to them all. Young Ben, who loved wearing a little captain's hat and being wrapped tightly in his blankets like a mummy. A young boy who wanted to marry his mother. Sweet, adorable Annie who wanted a puppy when they landed in New Zealand. A loving little sister who excitedly searched and found the perfect birthday gift for her older brother.
I will say that this story will haunt you - and your dreams. It also will make you angry. Hester summed it up nicely with "What kind of ship's crew would ignore its responsibility to use searchlights or deploy a small launch if they had any inkling that the ship had struck something?....Did he ask himself for forgiveness as Captain Ahab (in Moby-Dick) did? Or even feel the need to ask forgiveness?"
It is wonderful to see how the people of New Zealand came together to support Judy. It is my impression that the New Zealanders saved not only her physical life, but also her faith and spirit. Judy could say at the end of this ordeal that she still believed in God.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GCPL

To Top