Unsinkable, by Jenni L. Walsh

What to read when…you haven’t tired of WW2 Historical Fiction (as I have) or if you can’t get enough Titanic stories (as I can’t!).  Titanic will forever hold the heart of every story in our oceans of imagination—the hopeful beginning, the devastating plot twist, the heart-breaking, yet poignant conclusion.  Unsinkable draws from this well of storytelling, but our heroine sadly spends too little time aboard the ship before moving into other parts of the novel.  I suppose more time on the ship would have ended badly for her, but…do we really care?

You might like this book and you might not.  There are parts of the story that are truly comical and other pieces that might pull a bit at your heartstrings.  The afterward explains how much of the book was based on real people, which might explain why it felt a bit thrown together—such is life (but not often, storytelling).

What I mostly enjoyed about the book was that while I was reading it, I happened to be passing through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where there is a near life-sized Titanic Museum!  One can see the smokestacks from miles away, oddly backdropped against the Smokey Mountains, a scene that absolutely demands a stopover, which, of course, I did.  Upon parking, I also found that the back of the ship/building was encased in a terribly realistic-looking iceberg.  Too much?  I thought not.

The inside of the ship/museum does NOT disappoint.  Your ticket is a Titanic boarding pass, and on the back of your ticket is the story of an actual passenger, whose fate you discover upon completing the tour.  My first-class 36-year-old teacher survived the ordeal, but the man beside me was very upset to find his third-class mother of four did not.  (And since when are teachers traveling first class? I have questions.)  They offer a self-guided audio tour and a LOT of information about the ship, the passengers, and how, exactly, the ship sank.  You can see how long you can hold your hands in 23-degree water (about 20 seconds for me, I shiver even now to think of being submerged in such cold), and you can try your luck at walking up the 45-degree incline of the ship’s deck (I had to grab the railing with both hands, it was a struggle).

I will never get enough Jack and Rose, and yes, I can watch at least the first half of that movie several times a year.  (The second tape just makes me cry.  Remember when it first came out and there were two VHS tapes?)  If you’ve had enough of Titanic and ships sinking in general, then Unsinkable probably isn’t for you.  But if your heart will forever go on with the sappy sentimentality of Titanic’s story, you HAVE to visit that museum in Tennessee.  And maybe read the book.  Maybe.

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