Review for 438 Days

Hello again, last you all heard I had reread The Mysterious Benedict Society. Well I went on to reread the second book in the MBS series, which was lovely and a nice break from all long and more tedious books I embarked upon. 🙂 After which one of the ladies in my book club recommended a survival book which fit my mood, particularly with all this cold weather we are having. It was a fascinating read; I truly love hearing how people survive rough conditions.

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

438 Days An Extraordinary True Story of Survival At Sea

by Jonathan Franklin

Genre – Nonfiction, Survival

Series – No

Rating – PG-13 for infrequent language and drug use

Synopsis –

For most of his life Alvarenga lives on the sea. After leaving El Salvador to come to Mexico, he finds a place there. He works hard as a shark fisherman and usually brings in quite the catch. In November Alvarenga and a novice fisherman named Cordoba head out to hit a particular spot where the fish are biting. While there a storm comes in and wreaks havoc on their expedition. They try to head back to shore, but loss their anchor and have engine trouble. This is a true story of how these men fight to survive in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

My Thoughts –

Throughout most of this book, I became enthralled with Alvarenga’s journey. I’d never heard his story before and became sucked into the world of fishing. The whole fishing industry situation in Mexico was sad. I mean these fisherman get paid pittance compared to what the actual fish cost.

In all honestly, I probably would not have survived what he went through. I am a picky eater and would not have been able to eat birds. I mean he ate the whole bird bones, feathers and all. Also, shark skin. He literally did whatever he could and ate anything that came his way. It boggles my mind that he spent that year on just a tiny boat with no covering. With most of his time being spent in an icebox!! It would be interesting to see where Alvarenga is at today and if he ever found help for his back pain.

Both Alvarenga and Cordoba sound like interesting men. Kinda surprised how big the drug industry was even for poor fisherman. I could connect with Cordoba’s fear and anxiety during the first storm. Where would that put your state of mind? Being overtaken by a fierce almost hurricane and unable to reach the shore only 20 miles away.

To me there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord was watching over Alvarenga and brought him through this horrible situation. Our bodies are such miraculous things; it truly gives credit to our Creator. It was neat to see Alvarenga turn at least to believing the possibility that there was God out there. I would imagine it would be easy to blame God for this horrible situation and become bitter, but instead the opposite happened and this man softened to the truth.

Content – There is infrequent swearing throughout as well mentions of drug use. We also are told that Alvarenga was quite the ladies man, often dating more then one women. He had a daughter our to wedlock who plays a role in the book as well

Conclusion –

I got to say this truly was an incredible story. The first chapter or so dragged a bit as they gave a lot of back story. However, it picks up and takes you on a wild ride through the Doldrums and the Pacific Ocean. What’s crazy is that this took place only a few years ago. It’s hard to picture places so desolate where there is not a single soul. I’d highly recommend this if you enjoy survival stories!!

Up next – I’m reading Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. I saw the movie and really loved it so am giving the book a try.

Over to you all! What’s your favorite survival book/movie? Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Review for 438 Days”

  1. This sounds like a fascinating story! I don’t read a whole lot of nonfiction, but somewhat recently I read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and it was amazing. There is a section of it in which some US soldiers are stranded at sea and end up eating birds and battling sharks. It’s a really powerful story and I would recommend it if you hadn’t read it. It’s interesting though because God clearly played a huge role in Louie Zamperini’s life but the author doesn’t seem to totally get it.

    1. Yes, it is! Its amazing seeing the different ways the people surive difficult conditions! I cannot say I’m a huge fan of nonfiction, but survival stories have caught my notice. Yes!! Ahh, I absolutely loved Unbroken when I read it a few years ago. I actually read his book first called Devil at My Heels. Focuses more on the redemption part and how he gave his life to Christ. I remember that part, don’t they use paddles to scare the sharks away? I agree, the author toned down that section. How incredible tho that Billy Graham got to play a part in leading Zamperini to Christ. Have you seen the movie version of Unbroken?

        1. It’s definitely worth reading! A bit different account then Unbroken. Compared to the book yeah it has its flaws. But as a movie, I liked it. Wish we could have seen more of his life after the prison camp and how that effected his family, but I love the music.

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