Veronica Oberholzer ’17
How would it feel to be alone on a twenty-three foot rowboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with no long-range communications equipment, in what would later be recognized as the worst North Atlantic hurricane season on record? Immerse yourself in this experience with A PEARL IN THE STORM by Tori Murden McClure ‘85, who was not only the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic, on her second attempt in 1999, but also the first woman to ski to the South Pole. Tori’s account of her first voyage, which she had to cut short after 85 days, is filled with fascinating details about the realities of her daily routine on the American Pearl and the factors in her life that took her there. Smithies will sympathize with Tori as she agonizes over whether to pull her emergency beacon, unsure whether to give up her dream – or whether she should ask others to risk their lives to rescue her. Although Tori finds herself in many serious situations, the book is filled with humor, much of it directed at the sexist comments of those who question her abilities, which Smithies will no doubt appreciate. Reflections on growing up with Lamar, a brother with developmental disabilities, add yet another layer to Tori’s narrative. By the end of the book, she has explained not only how her rows were possible but also the personal epiphanies that her voyages wrought.
Veronica Oberholzer ’17 lived in Morris and studied Economics and Philosophy. She is currently doing an AmeriCorps VISTA year in San Francisco. Her hobbies include eating ice cream from a teacup, sending herself reminder emails, and trading book recommendations with friends.