by John Pollack
The author, a former speechwriter for a Congressman and Clinton, quits his job to build a boat made out of 165,000-plus corks held together by rubber bands, which he then sails with friends down the Douro River in Portugal. It sounds like a fairy tale, and it almost is, a heart-warming true fantasy story of childhood dreams and adult sacrifice and priorities and adventure. Pollack is, of course, a gifted writer, adept at spinning a tale and interweaving personal reminisces, anecdotes and a few strands of history here and there. But it’s Pollack's determination and optimism, though, that make this such a sweet tale. After the descriptions of camaraderie, community, despair and dedication, I felt like cheering along as they pulled into Porto on the final day.