Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios by Holly Conklin Fitzgerald

Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios

A stunning debut; a Departures original publication. The ultimate survival story; a wild ride--the wildest--down a South American river in the thick of the Amazon Basin; a true and thrilling adventure of a young married couple who survive a plane crash only to later raft hundreds of miles across Peru and Bolivia, ending up in a channel to nowhere, a dead end so flooded the...

Title:Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0525432779
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:336 pages

Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios Reviews

  • Alison

    This was quite a harrowing adventure that this couple took after their wedding. Holly and Fritz were going to travel the world for a year and while in Peru and just 5 months into their travels, they take a small plane from one jungle town in Peru to another in Bolivia both of which run along the Madre de Dios river in the Amazon. Their plane crash landed a short while later , luckily no one was hurt, but the only place nearby was a penal colony in the Peruvian jungle, where they would stay for a

    This was quite a harrowing adventure that this couple took after their wedding. Holly and Fritz were going to travel the world for a year and while in Peru and just 5 months into their travels, they take a small plane from one jungle town in Peru to another in Bolivia both of which run along the Madre de Dios river in the Amazon. Their plane crash landed a short while later , luckily no one was hurt, but the only place nearby was a penal colony in the Peruvian jungle, where they would stay for a few nights before deciding what to do. It turned out either they needed to wait a couple of months for transportation, or they were told that they could take a raft, and with the rapid currents arrive at their destination, soon. So thinking it would be easy, they made a few adjustments to a raft they were given, and thinking they could get food from natives along the way took off. The first few days seemed easy enough but then a storm hit throwing them off course, and here is where the nail biting 27 days stranded, with no food starts.

    This story will make it hard for you to stop reading, as you want to see if they make it out of this predicament.

    It was also interesting to see how they held it together during this time, how it affected both their mental and physical state.

    A very engrossing read, and a journey worth taking.

    Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

  • Cindy

    Goodness. I struggled with the rating on this one. Going with a 2.5 rounded up to a three. These folks ended up floating / drifting down a South American river on a precarious raft with very little in the way of supplies. Their situation was the result of a cluster of bad decisions fueled by the idiocy and impatience of youth. Bad luck had a small hand in their fate but they had good luck as well or this book would have never happened. And when they gave their bags to a random toothless guy with

    Goodness. I struggled with the rating on this one. Going with a 2.5 rounded up to a three. These folks ended up floating / drifting down a South American river on a precarious raft with very little in the way of supplies. Their situation was the result of a cluster of bad decisions fueled by the idiocy and impatience of youth. Bad luck had a small hand in their fate but they had good luck as well or this book would have never happened. And when they gave their bags to a random toothless guy with a machete and a wheelbarrow who then took off running through the jungle? This even turned out ok! I mean seriously. I think they were actually extremely lucky. They made one bad decision after another and lived to tell the tale. Good on you!

    But I am aware that I am again in the minority. I love adventure and survival books but this one irritated the stuffing out of me. I found myself shaking my head and rolling my eyes a lot. I guess my biggest problem was with the writing. It was dialogue heavy and a lot of it was redundant. I'm unclear how you remember so much word for word dialogue after 45 years. It's just weird. And there were soooo many references to hair. Ummm..yea, I get it. Fritz has curly hair and you like to run your fingers through it. Come on! Say something else. I did like the flashbacks because they broke up the monotonous dialogue but that just gave me more insight into their cores. In one flashback, Fritz drunkenly stumbles outside their remote east coast cabin and screams into the air that all their neighbors are Nazis. And this is because no one showed up to their party? Wow. One more pet peeve. The God thing...ummm....God didn't forsake you. You made really, really stupid decisions. God didn't send you special little frogs, snails and worms because he wanted you to eat. They were part of that ecosystem. Just my opinion. Tough audience, party of one. :)

  • Noorilhuda

    It’s hard to tell how much dramatic license has been taken in this well-done nail-biting trip-in-hell that’s incredibly a true story - a newlywed couple have the astoundingly dumb idea to go ‘sailing’ in the Amazon to move from point A to B, when they have zero experience of rafts, place, river, weather and survival - but know that the water may have piranhas, caimans, snakes and alligators. They also bundle too little food, thinking they’ll just ‘catch a fish’ out there!

    Also well-done is the pa

    It’s hard to tell how much dramatic license has been taken in this well-done nail-biting trip-in-hell that’s incredibly a true story - a newlywed couple have the astoundingly dumb idea to go ‘sailing’ in the Amazon to move from point A to B, when they have zero experience of rafts, place, river, weather and survival - but know that the water may have piranhas, caimans, snakes and alligators. They also bundle too little food, thinking they’ll just ‘catch a fish’ out there!

    Also well-done is the pace and frequent ‘breathers’ / flashbacks that form a macabre good-old-days to the horrifying reality of being lost and hopeless. Especially in the case of Holly, who was born with a silver spoon and had the best of the best in everything.

    The pics are at the end of the book. I am surprised that the couple did not click any pics in the 26 days they were in Lago Santa Maria (channel off the actual Madre De Dios) other than a single shot of the raft.

    Irritants:

    a) The entire behavior of Holly (and Fitz) after being rescued purely by chance: e.g. on being rescued by the locals (‘Indians’) who allow them to bring valuables on their small canoe, Holly cribs about the Indians tearing the ‘Pink Palace’ and ‘Balsa’ rafts to shreds looking for ‘nails, oil can, floor boards’ (they are poor people for God’s sake); they are also suspicious of the Indians (if they wanted to kill you, they would have done it next to your beloved rafts); they reward one of the Indians with ‘10 rings made of straw’ (!) - only to take their white hen and 3 eggs which amounted to a week’s wage for the poor fellows; sleeping in the very cozy humane back-to-civilization sitting room in Barraca Santo Domingo, Holly cribs about the floor and mosquitoes; they decide to continue their ‘journey’ in Riberalta despite the fact that any other sensible person would have taken a few days rest and replenishment after a 26-day starvation (or slug-snail, baby frog diet) and a thorough check-up for any water-borne diseases; they fall near a hospital, have difficulty walking towards it but have enough strength to chat up the nuns.

    b) What happened to Roque, Silverio and Gregoria in the decades following the incident?

    c) I did not like the way Holly mentions her ‘New Fairfield’ neighbors - she and Fitz rented a cottage near the place and she instantly calls the ‘mostly German’ residents as ‘xenophobic’ apart from recounting how she went to invite them ‘personally’ to her party and not only did no one open the door, none of them came to her party either. Her ‘inebriated’ husband calls them ‘Nazis’.

    d) I did not believe the saved teaspoon of sugar, nor the bee arrival and stings, nor the conversations between the couple.

    But then again, they have been married 47 years. If you can get hitched to someone after two months of dating and then stay happily married, anything’s possible.

  • Janilyn Kocher

    Ruthless River is a story of a couple's survival in the South American jungle after naively believing they could placidly float down the river to the next location. They might have been that lucky too, if a storm hadn't veered them off the main river. What followed was survival due to sheer grit, tenacity, and a miraculous discovery. It's a great read, if not nerve wracking.

  • Clara

    I started this one afternoon and kept reading pretty much straight thru to the end with occasional pauses, many of them to get food (a comment you will understand if you read the book). This is an amazing story of adventure, youthful foolishness, and luck (both good and bad). Try it!

  • Rorie Pagnozzi

    This book was extremely engaging. I found myself on days when I was the passenger in the business vehicle with no air, relating to the author about the sticky never-ending heat and appreciating all the food I was eating like it was a delicacy. My mind stayed on that brown river and swamp even when I was too busy with life to be able to pick up the book, and dreaming about what might happen next.

    A few things that still drive me crazy are the whirl-pooling suction noise that would come each night

    This book was extremely engaging. I found myself on days when I was the passenger in the business vehicle with no air, relating to the author about the sticky never-ending heat and appreciating all the food I was eating like it was a delicacy. My mind stayed on that brown river and swamp even when I was too busy with life to be able to pick up the book, and dreaming about what might happen next.

    A few things that still drive me crazy are the whirl-pooling suction noise that would come each night at a certain time, it definitely is a bummer to never find out what that was. That's the thing about memoirs though I guess; real life sometimes doesn't come with answers.

    Also, one other small pet-peeve. She took pictures the whole time as a photographer, but in all the 26 days they were imprisoned on their raft she never once thought to take a picture of the place they were one day away from dying in.

    Really great read.

  • Sharon Rasey

    While the story itself was a compelling and epic adventure, I found some of the writing irritating. There were constant descriptions and mentioning of hair, her's and his, the color of eyes and references to divine intervention that I found to be unnecessary to the narrative. While I did enjoy most of it I found myself rolling my eyes more than once.

  • BookTrib Community

    Holly and Fitz Fitzgerald, a newlywed couple enjoying their extended honeymoon, find themselves crash-landed in the center of the Peruvian jungle. Their only salvation? A small raft, crudely built from whatever materials they could find. This book had us on our toes the entire read! For our entire review - and for more books you won't be able to put down - click here!

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