Jason Prosper grew up in the elite world of Manhattan penthouses, Maine summer estates, old-boy prep schools, and exclusive sailing clubs. A smart, athletic teenager, Jason maintains a healthy, humorous disdain for the trappings of affluence, preferring to spend afternoons sailing with Cal, his best friend and boarding-school roommate. When Cal commits suicide during their junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason is devastated by the loss and transfers to Bellingham Academy. There he meets Aidan, a fellow student with her own troubled past, and they embark on a tender, awkward, deeply emotional relationship.
When a major hurricane hits the New England coast, the destruction it causes brings with it another upheaval in Jason’s life, forcing him to make sense of a terrible secret that has been buried by the boys he considers his friends.
Set against the backdrop of the 1987 stock market collapse, The Starboard Sea is an examination of the abuses of class privilege, the mutability of sexual desire, the thrill and risk of competitive sailing, and the adult cost of teenage recklessness. It is a powerful and provocative novel about a young man finding his moral center, trying to forgive himself, and accepting the gift of love.
I read the review in The New York Times and immediately purchased this title. I was drawn to the era, the late '80s, and to the prep school environment that we've all come to know from The Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, etc. While I enjoyed the story, I was a bit disappointed by the manner in which the author gave such a perfuctory nod to so many aspects of the story. Few of the characters, besides the narrator, seemed fleshed out. Not that they weren't described, but they were not given life. The events of the story were often glossed over, as if the author were a tour guide, hurrying us along to the next piece of action before we had a chance to enjoy what was before us. There were storylines with certain characters (Leo, Officer Hardy to name two) that just faded away without resolution.
That said, I found myself engaged in the story throughout, and although we never know exactly how the critical event of the story actually unfolded, the author finds a way of making the resolution poigmant and appropriate. I loved the sailng scenes, and learning about navigation and the stars and the sea.
The biggest problem with the recording is the reader. I have never heard a book before this one that I thought would be better enjoyed if read instead of listened to. The reader, although passable as an 18 year-old young man, was terrible at creating voices of the other characters. I have heard many male narrators create wonderful women's voices, but the voices of the women in this novel came off as very bad charicatures, as did many of the men. There were also several words that were mispronounced--not a big deal, but a bit jarring for a professional production.
One thing that I did enjoy very much about the book is the way that a female author imbued the first-person narrative about a group of teenage boys with such a warmth and gentleness that belied its setting. I was never really concious of the author's sex, but I was concious of not worrying that the novel was going to digress into a crude boy's-school sex romp. It was not a perfect book, but I think that it is a good read, or a fairly good listen.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about The Starboard Sea?
My disdain for the life style and attitude of these preppies,although I love sailing, caused me to not finish this book and I stopped half way through. I can't blame the author but some of the dialog is childish maybe she did such a good job it turned me off.
Would you ever listen to anything by Amber Dermont again?
I doubt it.
What didn???t you like about Alexander Cendese???s performance?
The effeminate voice of most of the male sub characters and a masculine voice of some of the females.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What was most disappointing about Amber Dermont’s story?
A huge disappointment and total waste of time. Book was vapid and banal. Characters were <br/>completely without interest and did not develop. There's just nothing there.
Would you be willing to try another one of Alexander Cendese’s performances?
Yes, good reader.
What character would you cut from The Starboard Sea?
All of them.
Would you try another book from Amber Dermont and/or Alexander Cendese?
probably- a bit sophmoric at times, but is talking first person from a teenager point of view. not certain if it is the author or narrator that is mixing up some ofthe sailing terms(jib for gybe and hand -a lee?) As a sailor, it make me crazy
Would you be willing to try another book from Amber Dermont? Why or why not?
What aspect of Alexander Cendese’s performance would you have changed?
pronoucing sailing technical words
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
1 of 2 people found this review helpful