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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Once Upon a Gypsy Moon: A Memoir - Michael Hurley

Release Date - April 2013

Michael Hurley
Center Street

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Michael Hurley hit rock bottom after cheating on his wife, going through a painful divorce, and being voted out as partner in the law firm where he'd spend dozens of hours a week working. This all led to Hurley's decision to fix his sailboat, Gypsy Moon, and sail for two years from Maryland to the Caribbean. Things were not always easygoing, true of any adventure, and he reaches many emotional milestones along the way. Once Upon a Gypsy Moon is the account of his voyages.

Some of the details of the boating were a little over my head and made for drier reading. Thankfully, this is mainly in the fifth chapter when he talks about the repairs and why he opted for "hanked-on headsails" vs. "roller furling." It's a short chapter though. Mainly, I found the chapters where he focuses on his reflections or the people he meets along the way to be far more valuable.

Throughout Once Upon a Gypsy Moon, the author details his past and present with a very honest voice. He makes it clear that he screwed up his marriage and never asks for sympathy, something I find refreshing. I've read a few too many memoirs where the authors do not seem to get that they are responsible for their downfalls -- from drug addicts who say their friends and family should have forced them to stop to unfaithful spouses who blame their wives or husbands for not making them stay. Michael Hurley's honesty made this book enjoyable and made me appreciate his story so much more.

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