Lynne Cox (3 stars)

The Day the Whale Came (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

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NATURE TALE

One early passage in this book from the author of Swimming to Antarctica reveals just how dangerous a stingray can be. ‘When the barb is injected into the foot, it locks into the skin and the only way to extricate it is to have it surgically removed.’ Crikey. But even bigger dangers appeared to threaten Lynne Cox when, aged 17, she went for a paddle off the Californian mainland. A long-distance swimming record-breaker for three years, she was no novice to the seas, but when she gained a companion in the shape of a lost baby grey whale which she named Grayson, Cox knew this would be no ordinary journey.

Told in startlingly precise detail (quite a notepad she must have had on her), the places where it should be painfully moving become eschewed by the author’s own words. ‘Be patient’ she tells Grayson. ‘Sometimes you just have to believe.’ Expect the Ron Howard movie sometime soon.

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