A Drop in the Ocean
by Jenni Ogden
On her 49th birthday, Anna Fergusson, Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert, arrives at an unwanted crossroads when the funding for her research lab is cut. With her confidence shattered and her future uncertain, on impulse she rents a cabin for a year on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. However Turtle Island, alive with sea birds and nesting Green turtles, is not the retreat she expected. Here she finds love for the eccentric islanders who become her family; for Tom, the laid-back turtle whisperer; and for the turtles whose ancient mothering instincts move her to tears. But Anna finds that even on her idyllic drop in the ocean there is pain, and as the months fly past her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love. Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in the Ocean is a story about second chances and hard lessons learned in the gentlest of ways.”
“I hadn’t cried, even when alone, since I was in my twenties, and it felt wonderful in a strange sort of way.”
“If I’d been a bloke, as they say in Aussie, I’d have woken with a boner the morning of our trip. The very thought of being alone with Tom tonight on Lost Cay turned my insides to goo.”
“My self-esteem always hit rock bottom in fashion shops. Telling myself that I made more money and had more university degrees than any saleswoman made no difference. But I sallied forth, credit card trembling in my handbag, past caring about cost.”
“There is no genetic reason why Hamish should resemble Dad, of course, but as the grandson of my heart I think he has rearranged my memories of my father in some mysterious way.”
“My last act of love will be to stand back when he takes his final ride out over the reef edge and falls backwards into his beloved sea.”
I enjoyed reading this tale – structured as the personal musings/journey of an intelligent, well-educated, and mature woman who has finally come of age at the ripe age of fifty – yes – that is exactly what I meant. A closed off workaholic, she had buried herself in study and work until she no longer had either. Being an unmarried woman, social isolate, unemployable research scientist, she suddenly had no one and nothing to fall back on but herself. Encouraged by her one and only friend, she sets off on a quiet adventure of monitoring campsites on a tiny isolated island cay in Australia near the Great Barrier Reef – a surprising choice given her fear of the ocean.
I was struck most by the enigmatic, poignant, and emotive writing, which seemed to be craftily and stealthily tapping emotions with words moving far beneath the surface… more than once I was surprised to be mid sentence and discover the words were squeezing my heart and constricting my burning throat. The plot was interesting and relevant, and story was generously descriptive as well as active. I learned a considerable amount about off the grid island living, reef fish, turtles, research projects, and the Shetland Islands – and I greatly enjoyed the lessons. I am also now knowledgeable of several interesting Aussie words and expressions like dosh, doorstop sandwich, bommie, japes, bitumen, and fair dinkum – love my kindle with instant Wikipedia access.
About the Author
Reading and writing fiction is my passion. Even when I was a neuropsychologist, I wrote books that, while true, were all about story—the courageous struggles and triumphs of people who had suffered brain disorders. (My text, Fractured Minds, first published in 1996 with a 2nd edition in 2005, is still popular, mainly, I think because it is full of stories about real people, as well as facts about neuropsychology and brain disorders.Trouble In Mind , my book for the general reader, was published in the USA in 2012 and in Australia in 2013. If you like Oliver Sacks’ stories about his patients, you will probably like this too.)