Dolphins Under My Bed
Reviewed by Jen Cardwell for Reader Views (06/08)
Sailing the World from Home
Sandra Clayton’s husband told her one day that he would like for them to sell their house in England and live on a sail boat for their retirement. Although she was quite skeptical at the beginning, eventually she acquiesced and the result is “Dolphins Under My Bed,” their story as adapted from the diaries that Sandra kept while on the journey.
In “Dolphins Under My Bed” we follow the Claytons from their initial forays into sailing around the North Atlantic, to their decision to sail to the Mediterranean, to their actual trip down the coast of France, Spain, and Portugal. Sandra creates a separate chapter for each leg of the journey, so that their adventures in every port are described.
I found Sandra’s prose easy and fun to read. She described the sights around her, and her experiences on the boat, extremely well. If I was able to really concentrate, I could almost see what she was describing. I also appreciated that she did not assume that the reader knew all of the sailing terms with which she became familiar on her travels. Clayton both attempts to describe the terms the first time or two she uses them and provides a glossary in the back of the book so that the reader can refer to the back at any time in order to remember what on earth the ‘boom’ is.
“Dolphins Under My Bed” is a book that is appropriate for a wide audience. People who might particularly relate are those who sail, those who travel often to smaller, more out of the way locations, and those hoping to do something incredibly interesting in their retirement. This is not to say that these are the only people who would enjoy this book. I, personally, fall into none of these categories and yet I very much enjoyed the book. Anyone who has dreamed of travelling, or who is simply interested to see an intimate picture of culture in a variety of places is likely to enjoy “Dolphins Under My Bed.” This is a book that can be read by a teenager with wanderlust and her grandfather who has enjoyed sailing and be completely appropriate for both of them. There are no sex and language issues, so that the book could be given to anyone capable of reading it without worry.
The only other thing I could have wanted would have been to learn how long the Claytons stayed on their boat after that first year, and what else happened to them. Perhaps a sequel?