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Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I was really attracted to the idea of this book: 39 passengers on a lifeboat struggling for survival, making tough choices, and operating within a tricky ethical and moral framework.

But the book didn’t live up to its promise. The characters were poorly developed, and I simply didn’t care about them. The single first-person narrative structure lessened the reader’s ability to interpret the situation from multiple points of view. This problem is worsened by the narrator being a dull, submissive, self-centred bore. There are too many flashbacks to the time prior to the sinking of the ship, and too much of the story is set after the final passengers have been rescued. The dilemmas were framed in the predominantly Christian ethical framework of the early 20th century, which was very limiting. And, predictably, there was a church figure amongst the passengers on the lifeboat. Even reading that last sentence alone, you can probably guess his fate.

This is a short book, but it was a struggle to plough through. It had enjoyable moments and passages, but the narrative structure of the story and the period in which it was set both conspired to constrict the moral and ethical superstructure to such an extent that it ceased to be interesting.

In summary, the premise is great, but the execution is poor.

The Lifeboat is available now from amazon.co.uk in paperback and on Kindle.

This post was filed under: Book Reviews, .




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