Friday, July 13, 2012

Once Upon a Gypsy Moon: A Memoir - Michael C. Hurley

Summary: Michael C. Hurley, a noted trial attorney who once worked as a professional sailor, returns to the sea to give us a thought-provoking memoir of a man’s yearning for redemption and renewal in the wake of infidelity, divorce, and failure. The story begins as Hurley leaves Annapolis, Maryland, aboard an aging, 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon. Three years after his marriage ended in scandal, Hurley is short of money, out of a job, and seeking to salvage a life that has foundered. Woven through Hurley’s compelling prose are gems of insight on such diverse topics as faith and disbelief. As the voyage brightens in surprising and sometimes humorous ways, we are guided to a physical and spiritual destination that seemed unattainable at the start. Once Upon a Gypsy Moon tells a salty, wave-swept tale in the time-honored tradition, but it also offers a message of hope that will resonate with anyone who has had to pick up the pieces after personal failure and loss.

Summary and cover photo from Indiebound.org. Book received free for review.

My Review: Attempting to come to terms with his divorce and professional hardships, Michael Hurley decides to take his small sailboat on a long, solo journey from the East coast to the shores of Nassau. As his small boat navigates the ocean, Hurley contemplates his own life - both his successes and his failures. Along the way he gains increased spirituality and confidence, as well as a new love.

This memoir is no pity trip, as Hurley openly admits his mistakes, never asking the reader for forgiveness. Instead he seeks to understand the path that brought him to this place in life and to change its course. His honest reflections are refreshing. His determination to follow his dreams and become a better man is admirable. And his ability to relate his physical and emotional journey in storytelling form is remarkable. The tale contains moments of turmoil yet overall has a peaceful aura, reminiscent of the ocean gently lapping at the shore.

Though I have great love for the water, I am not a sailor. Therefore much of the terminology was beyond my grasp. Hurley attempts to provide adequate explanations yet this part of the story was lost for me. However I was able to appreciate the story of personal growth and greatly enjoyed the author's use of metaphors and his ability to find religious meaning in the little things. I would definitely recommend this one as a summer read. 

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

To Sum It Up: An engaging and beautifully written memoir of one man's quest to discover personal happiness.

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