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Publisher's Summary

Holly FitzGerald and her husband, Fitz - married less than two years - set out on a yearlong honeymoon adventure of a lifetime, backpacking around the world. Five months into the trip, their plane crash-lands in Peru at a penal colony walled in by jungle, and their blissfully romantic journey turns into a terrifying nonstop labyrinth of escape and survival.

On a small, soon-ravaged raft that quickly becomes their entire universe through dangerous waters alive with deadly animals and fish, their only choice: to continue on despite the rush of insects swarming them by day, the sounds of encroaching predators at night. Without food or means of communication, with no one to hear their cries for help or on a search-and-rescue expedition to find them, the author and her husband make their way, fighting to conquer starvation and navigate the brute force of the river, their only hope for survival, in spite of hunger and weakening resolve, to somehow, miraculously, hang on and find their way east to a large riverside town - before it is too late.

©2017 Holly FitzGerald (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Both travel memoir and shocking adventure story, like a real-life Survivor or Naked and Afraid.... A powerful story about survival, love, and faith in the face of impossible odds.... Unputdownable...absolutely fascinating." (Katie Lawrence, Library Journal)
"Vivid and consistently compelling.... An absorbing tale of survival, love, and the generosity of people who helped save their lives." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A detailed, high-stakes debut memoir...FitzGerald weaves in the stories from their past with palpable, evocative details of their daily struggles with starvation, strong currents, and despair, all while the couple's love, self-knowledge, and faith deepen.... Recommended for fans of survival narratives, coming-of-maturity stories, and travelogues from off the beaten path." (Louisa Whitfield-Smith, Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narration is off

The narrator makes this resilient woman & protagonist often sounds childlike/naive as opposed to what the story conveys - thoughtful and strong. This is a frustrating as the listener.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Incredible journey of courage and faith

I personally know Holly and Fitz and although they told us what happened after they came Back it never registered as it did listening to this incredible journey by Holly. Holly is an excellent writer just as Fitz is an excellent writer and poet and I am so proud to know them to be able to call them my friends. And the reader did a great job as I teared up at least three or four times throughout the book. Fantastic and I’m so glad like two friends I still alive after all that – – Dennis NIermann

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Highly improbably story told in romanticized manner

This reads like an old woman's romanticized retelling of a terrible and pointless journey down an Amazonian tributary. It lacks the visceral qualities that could bring the experience to life for the reader. Instead, FitsGerald sweetens her language, relying on cliche phrases. The jungle is "colorful." A nurse "slips" an IV into her arm.

If this story happened, it didn't happen as she described it. She's tried to make it too palatable. The pictures she painted of her husband and herself are of staunch forbearance. It's a little too good to be true.

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  • Story

Disappointed!

I was SO looking forward to the availability of this book. What a fascinating premise. The story is very good, but the narrator ruined it. Her little girl, breathy voice changed the entire dynamic of the story. And, to add further annoyance to the listener, she articulated every syllable in a peculiar, grating affectation: Short e became a (neck/nack, bread/ brad, death/dath,...). Then, short a became o (raft/roft, match/motch). Short i became e (this/thes, kiss/kess, fish/fesh). Excellent opportunity missed here, Audible.

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Kirstin
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 07-17-17

Wow!

If you could sum up Ruthless River in three words, what would they be?

Beautifully retold story of survival.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Holly, I suppose was my favorite character. Her thoughtful insights and beautiful descriptions during a time of unimaginable stress. Her perseverance and love of adventure.

Which scene was your favorite?

I think some of my favorite scenes were the conversations between Holly and Fitz. Especially the humor that they both could weave into lighten the mood despite the dire situation they were facing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I was really hooked. Listened in two days.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Story should be gripping...

What did you like best about Ruthless River? What did you like least?

The narration.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jorjeana Marie’s performances?

Don't think so.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Really, this story should grab your attention from the beginning and carry you through the current of the narrative, but the narration was abysmal. I found myself disliking Holly, her inability to make sound decisions and her (seemingly) whiney attitude – the voice given to her by the narrator is naïve and childlike.

Also, the fact that Holly and Fitz made some crazy choices without much forethought didn’t lead me to feel very compassionate towards their plight. Fitz was a Viet Nam war veteran – having served his tour in country. You would think he would have had some understanding of what a jungle is and the dangers that lurk around every bend. But no, apparently not. The whole story is unbelievable and annoying.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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