4.6 45
by Robin L. Graham, Derek L. T. Gill

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In 1965, 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham began a solo around-the-world voyage from San Pedro, California, in a 24-foot sloop. Five years and 33,000 miles later, he returned to home port with a wife and daughter and enough extraordinary experiences to fill this bestselling book, Dove.


In 1965, 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham began a solo around-the-world voyage from San Pedro, California, in a 24-foot sloop. Five years and 33,000 miles later, he returned to home port with a wife and daughter and enough extraordinary experiences to fill this bestselling book, Dove.

Editorial Reviews

Sloan Wilson
Perfectly marvelous. Anyone who enjoys the sea or who loves adventure will love it.
Milwaukee Journal
Filled with a youthful philosophy about life and love and high adventure. .
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Even in an era of superlatives, Dove is an incredible story. .

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Harper Perennial
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Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)
1020L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Joining the Circle

DOVE nosed into her slip at the Long Beach marina, her sails furled like a bird resting its wings after a storm. I wasn't thinking about the voyage at all. My mind was on Patti. I was yearning to hold her again. She was standing there among the reporters and television cameras, and laughing-her long wheatcolored hair blowing across her face in that familiar way, her body swollen with my child.

As Dove was being tied up, so many newsmen came charging down the floating slip that it threatened to sink and to throw them into the April-chill water. I sat on the cabin roof waiting for the customs officer, and a dozen microphones were thrust into my face. Then the questions came at me like stones.

"What does it feel like to be the youngest sailor to have circled the world single-handed?"

"I haven't given it much thought," I said--and that was true.

"Would you do it again?"

"God no! I've done it once. Why do it again?"

"How did Patti become pregnant?" This from a woman reporter fluttering artificial eyelashes.

I urged her to read a book on birds and bees. She was closer than she knew to a love story that I wasn't yet ready to tell.

"What did you think about when you were alone and a thousand miles from land?"

"Perhaps the things you think about when you're alone," I parried, "but mostly about the next port."

"How far have you traveled since leaving California five years ago?"

"About thirty thousand and six hundred miles," I said.

"What are you going to do now?"

"Take a hot bath."

"Did you do it for a stunt?"

"A stunt! Hell no!"

Patti was making signs to me, tryingto tell me to keep my cool. She knew how short my fuse was when people asked damn-fool questions. But how could I tell these people, all thinking of their copy deadlines, why I had made this voyage?

Couldn't they leave me alone? Couldn't they guess that all I wanted was to be with Patti, to get away from this damned boat, to be among trees again, and in front of a blazing hearth and in a bed that didn't lurch with every wave and wind?

Actually I had seen Patti half an hour earlier. She and her father and my parents had come out in a launch at dawn to meet Dove at the breakwater. Patti had leaned perilously over the launch's rail to give me a breakfast of fresh melon, hot rolls and a bottle of champagne. I had drunk the whole bottle before reaching the marina and my mood was reasonably mellow. The reporters were safe. I even grinned at them. The television cameras zoomed in.

Many have sailed long and dangerous voyages for the sake of personal glory. Others have sailed for personal adventure. I fall into neither group. I have tried to answer honestly when people have asked me what made me do it--what compelled me at the age of sixteen to take a twenty-four-foot sailboat out of San Pedro harbor (it flanks Long Beach) and to tell my family and friends, "I'm going around the world."

Shakespeare, who seems to have had an answer to most questions, had Hamlet say, "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will." That was an answer that fitted pretty closely.

I'd never heard of Shakespeare and understood nothing about destiny when I went to school at the age of five in California. The classroom was close to a forest of yacht masts, and while other kids crayoned pictures of automobiles, airplanes, flowers or their Uncle Harry wearing big glasses, I drew only pictures of boats--boats with scores of portholes, top-heavy boats, small boats, wind-filled mainsails, mizzens, genoas, jibs and spinnakers. Then, when I was ten and a lot more resentful of homework, I pressured my father into giving me an eight-foot dinghy--beat up but beautiful. We were living then at Morro Bay, one of the more attractive of California's coastal towns. On launching day my father said he would teach me how to sail. He was full of wisdom because the previous night he had been reading a manual titled How to Handle a Small Craft. We got out two hundred yards from the shore and he lectured me on the danger of jibing (page 16 in the manual). Hardly had he lowered his finger than the boat jibed and both of us were thrown into the water.

But how I loved that little boat. Every day when school was over my brother Michael would dash off to the back yard and tinker with his beach buggy, but I would run all the way to the little wooden jetty beyond the reeds near our house. Sailing already meant much more to me than "mucking about in boats," as the neighbors used to call it. It was the chance to escape from blackboards and the smell of disinfectant in the school toilet, from addition and subtraction sums that were never the same as the teacher's answers, from spelling words like "seize" and "fulfill" and from little league baseball. It was the chance to be alone and to be as free for a while as the sea gulls that swung around Morro Rock.

One night when I should have been asleep I could hear my parents talking about me, their voices drifting down the passage from the living room. "I'm worried that he's such a loner," said my mother. "He needs more company. More friends. Perhaps we should ask Stephen or David to join us for the vacation."

A loner? Was I really different? I had friends. But I liked being alone, and a boat gave me the chance of getting away from people.

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Dove 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story much. If you dream of sailing you will enjoy this read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dove is the incredible story of Robin Lee Graham’s astonishing sail around the world. When Robin was just 16, he began his solo voyage from southern California in a twenty-four-foot sloop. Robin visits many different cultures along his five-year journey, including Hawaii, several islands in South America, South Africa, and Asian islands. At age 21, Robin returns with a wife, a daughter, and a full tape recorder, documenting his experiences at sea. Though many significant events occurred, I think that Dove is essentially a story about a young man struggling with loneliness. Robin had to sail alone for many days and sometimes weeks at a time, not knowing whether or not he would make it to his destination. When he met his future wife, Patti, his loneliness was eliminated for a while, or until he had to sail again and meet her at a new place. The majority of his tape recordings describe his loneliness. Though he tries many tactics to diminish his loneliness, including getting cats, drinking, talking to the tape recorder, and imagining he was with Patti, he discovers that nothing compares to human interaction. Robin also discovers that a person really doesn’t need much to thrive in life. But perhaps the most important lesson he learns is to never give up and take the easy way out. Even though he wanted to stop sailing and live on an island with Patti and get a normal job, he was pushed by his friends and family to keep going. Had Robin not listened to them and decided not to persevere, he would not have kept the same driven and ambitious personality he had before his voyage and kept when he came home. I would recommend this book. Even though this story doesn’t have a definite plot with an exciting climax, it’s very interesting to see how different someone’s life can be from “the norm.” It is relatable for teenagers and fascinating for adults. Even though this book wasn’t particularly thrilling, it was still entertaining and worth one’s time.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dove is a satisfying, entertaining, and refreshingly straightforward nonfiction story that’s sure to please. Robin Lee Graham was one of the youngest people to sail solo around the world. Starting in a Hawaiian harbor, Graham tells about his incessant love for all things boating. Having his head in the clouds for most of school, he soon leaves to set out on one of the biggest endeavors one could manage--sailing over 30,000 miles to experience the world as no one had before. Though the novel had its fair share of dark, stormy moments (quite literally), I was impressed by how consistently upbeat the tone was. Whether sailing through the pacific islands, Fiji, or the Galapagos, Graham remains rigid in that he always sees the world in the most enlightening, positive way possible. However, he does have a strong stance against urbanization and pollution, which makes his distaste for large cities and love for desolate islands respectively stronger, making for a very interesting contrast in viewpoints. Though the novel is nonfiction, it seems almost purposeful how there seem to be archetypes and themes placed throughout the story. I perceived many parts of the book as portraying loneliness and the fight against it. As Graham sails completely alone, he is constantly accompanied by the soul of his ship and the sea, as if they were no longer objects and had perceivable personalities. Later in the novel, his incessant love for the girl of his dreams brought up the very old and reused theme of love, and retold it in an exciting, unique way. Graham had his fair share of adventures over the course of his five year journey. From meeting people in American Samoa, Ecuador, Australia, and South Africa, to sailing through hurricanes, tropical storms, and worst of all, the doldrums, Graham had enough experiences to fill up a novel. From frustration to sheer joy to every imaginable emotion in between, Dove has a quite inexplicable dynamic range to it. There is enough detail to vividly have the reader standing next to Graham himself, yet it is straightforward enough to prevent the reader from becoming confused and keeps them easily able to navigate through the extraordinary tale. Gone are the days where nonfiction stories are dry, inexpressive, and painfully realistic. Dove may be the first of a new breed of nonfiction books, those that are exhilarating, action packed, and emotional enough to remind us how thin the boundary is between life and fantasy. Dove is indeed quite an inspiration, and regardless of your affinity for the sea, can have quite an effect on your confidence and perception of life. Dove is truly a revolution in the realm of nonfiction.
OINKERS More than 1 year ago
Rejecting the status quo This autobiography enhances an adventurous story of a 16 year old boy sailing around the world alone. Along his "charismatic" journey Robin goes through wonderful experiences of outside cultures and worlds that presented to him new aspects in the divinity of living. While reading this book I realized that through Robin Lee Graham's own thoughts and state of mind new aspects of society and images of reality are opened in a new way. While Robin was wallowing in doldrums at times alone on his boat he really went into depth about trying to comprehend the desires of man and how such topics as love and adventure can be all you ever need. My favorite and most reoccurring theme is strength and weakness. When Robin first met the love of his life Patti he realized that no matter where in the world he went he would always miss being with her. Although he shows weakness in crying of loneliness and desire he also showed how he has the strength to pull on to recapture what he really wanted. Another door that was opened for me was the message Robin brought to life of society and how selfish man is. In almost every chapter there is a thought, statement, or comparison of how cultures and life is different places. It seems that the U.S. is full of pessimistic greedy people when you discover how humble, peaceful, and thankful other people can be living in their own utopia. I found as I continued reading that our system is always trying desperately to become perfect; yet we keep tripping over ourselves and creating massive messes. I guess the more time you have away from the life you knew the more you contemplate, and that is what I really enjoyed about how this autobiography was written. I also loved how he expressed his emotions so openly. It was either a mixed emotion or a crystal clear interpretation of how he either loved or hated a certain event or object. Although what really drew me in was the warmth of discovery that was affiliated with every place he went. Just the descriptions of paradise and locals customs that have never been explained to me before is what really made me passionate in reading this adventurous tale. It was as though I could see the expansive imagery that was before me. I seriously felt as though I was in one of those shows where the person goes to that certain time and experienced everything that happened. Now that I think of this I don't think I had any dislikes besides how terrible it was when Robin was in the doldrums. As anyone can see I seriously enjoyed this book and encourage others to reminiscent along with Robin and Patti during their lovely adventure. One reason to read this book is to learn about possible vacation spots but mainly to read about a tale of high sea life and experience how absolutely different life can be outside of the dirt that surrounds you. For me this book is an absolute 5/5. Spectacularly Awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read my story at golden girl result one. Its called the golden cat. Ask questions in qu result two. Please read!
rcav8r More than 1 year ago
I first saw this book as a childrens version, "The boy who sailed around the world alone". Then years later I was looking at this book and realized it was the "full" version of the childrens book I had. It's simply an amazing book. Many other reviewers have given lavish praise, and it's well deserved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this when I first started sailing. A very good read and helpful about what sailing can be like. Bought this for a friend who is interested in sailing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the plot a sixteen year old named Robin Lee Graham sails around the world in a 24 foot dloop. He meets up with various indigenous people as well as other sailors who will also be very crutial in the plot line. Some main subjects that come up in this book are drama, love, as well as adventure. The reason why I think one should read this book is the adventure, but also the connections that you may found reading this book. I found when reading this book to be ispiring on how a sixteen year old sails single handedly around the world. Even though the protagonists does face incredably hard challenges it gave me some inspiration that you can truely do what you set your mind to regardless of age. However, the only real problem I might have with this book is that it doesn't seam long enough for my taste. I wanted the book to be longer to include more stories of his times abroad.
Larry2 More than 1 year ago
Don't read the rest of the reviews. This book is awesome! Read it and you shall agree. It's a perfect true story. If you don't want to get on a boat after this, then you have no human emotions. A must read!
Kyralovesjb More than 1 year ago
The book 'Dove' by Robin Lee Grahm was an autobiography about a teenage boy who sailed a small boat around the world alone. National Geographic magazine supports him along the way and makes sure that his story is known throughout the whole world. It's a book filled with dangerous adventures, and it is also a romance. While the main character, Robin, sails around the world he meets a girl, Pattie, and falls head over heels. They have to overcome the painfully large barrier of water between them throughout the second half of the story because robin has to sail alone. When his journey is over Robin and Pattie settle down to get a better education, make a home, and discover religion. Some major themes in this book are independence, love, depression, fear, and bliss. The many different themes make this book so much more interesting to read than a book with just one major theme. Independence in this book refers to sixteen year old Robin wanting to escape from his California life and sail around the world by himself. The main character not only has love for Pattie, but for the natural environment around him. They end of the book changes mood from the bliss of traveling to new places to the depression and loneliness of sailing alone at sea for months at a time. I really liked they way that they author started out wanting nothing more than to sail around the world for the first half of the book, but about half way through the only thing he wanted was to be with the girl, and to have companionship other then the open waters. It really made me want to keep reading, and there was never a point when I was bored reading it. However, I did dislike that toward the end of the book the whole story line revolved around the sorrow of the two main characters being separated, but I feel that sometimes the author puts parts in a book that you aren't supposed to like. They have to tell the whole story, not just the good parts. If you are looking for a book that is thrilling, heartbreaking, and romantic then this is the best book you could read. Although I had to read this book for school it didn't feel like an assignment, I would read it over again just for fun. This book was a non-fictional book, but the story line and events that happened seemed like a fairytale. The fact that they really did happen made me enjoy this book even more. Instead of just hard facts, and articles it was a real story, and that's what made this book so brilliant for me.
TeamStarkid23 More than 1 year ago
Robin Lee Graham set out to sail around the world by himself when he was only sixteen and he had not anticipated the journey full of struggles and achievements that he would soon encounter. This book shares Robin's personal account of long stretches of loneliness, months alone at sea, and the miraculous cultures that influenced him as he experienced different ways of life around the world. The theme of loneliness and life morals caused me to contemplate what the most important aspects of our lives are. If it hadn't been for his love of Patti, Robin may have stopped mid journey but he was able to endure the struggles knowing he had something to look forward to. Robin also learned from small villages how little you need, not how much. As Robin saw the wonders of unexplored islands and beautiful creatures, he explains how he came to become a Christian. His inspiring words can be applied to the life of anybody looking for something to believe in and the reasoning behind the beauty of the natural world. I liked that this book gave an image of the people native to primative islands through the eyes of an American, and highlighted the differences in life. It really made me think about how I live and taught me to be greatful for what I had. It also gave me inspiration that I can do anything, if Robin took 5 years to sail through storms on a small boat over 5 years, I can accomplish my goals as well. I disliked that there was not a huge amount of time spent covering the cultural aspects and focused more on how Robin felt alone at sea, through his break downs and triumphs. I recommend this book to anybody looking for an inspirational story that is not only facts, but also the story of finding love and finding yourself through faith. Overall, a very good book with interesting twists and changes that keep you interested.
SmartinEC More than 1 year ago
'Dove' by Robin Grahm, is a story of a boy who sails around the world single-handedly from the time he is sixteen up to the time he is twenty one with the help of the National Geographic and the natives that he meets and trades with on the way. While traveling around the world Robin explains his travels and the feeling of sailing alone, he also tells the tale of how he met the love of his life Patti. Robin goes on many adventures and learns what depression's like, he learns to find God, and to find love. When I first picked up the book I really had no desire to read it, at all. Honestly the only reason I picked up the book was because my friend let me borrow it so that I wouldn't have to buy my own. As I started to read the book it was exceptionally anti-climatic, but as I continued, I got hooked in; especially when Robin's lost at sea for a couple of days with 3 boys from school when they planned to sail around the world by themselves. As the story went on it gets particularly boring again, because the only people that we end up hearing about are Robin and his 2 cats. When the story truly gets into Robin's fantastic journey it became truly interesting. I learned about different cultures, and the hospitality and history of the people. I learned to view the world in a much different way than we do as Americans. Mostly we see ourselves as a grand country with great products and the people. are people. Not good. Not bad. Just normal people. In 'Dove' the hospitality that Robin gets from the islanders is how an American would act towards really good friends or neighbors that they have been living next to for years. They don't really expect anything back; they immediately give and help when they can. Robin followed his instinct to leave high school because it wasn't right for him; however, he did not accurately follow his dreams of wanting to sail around the world, because by the end he was really too tired to care, and just ready to come home and live with his new family. Was he proud that he finished his journey? Yeah, but he didn't sail for anything more than his own accomplishment. As teenagers, I think that this is a fantastic book for both genders to read; it has a story line, it has romance, and it has action which applies to the likes of most of our age bracket. I think that this book deserves about a four star rating based on interest, self discovery, and intellectual discussion. Whether this is a book about a reckless teen or a brave explorer, Robin Grahm is an inspiration and I highly recommend that kids and adults read 'Dove', not only will they love it, but they will learn to see the world differently then they currently do, which could lead to finding themselves.
Amy_F More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the book Dove, by Robin Lee Graham, which tells his own story of sailing around the world. They voyage takes place over many years and along the way Robin meets his true love and discovers a lot about both himself and nature. This book deeply explores the themes of love, loneliness, and perseverance, intertwining them into a very well written, humorous and adventurous tale. The author (who is also the main character) did an excellent job of pulling emotions out of me while I was reading and I really felt the isolation while he was out at sea, and the longing for human company. I felt the defeat when it seemed as if the whole world was against him, and i definitely believed the love he described for the perfect girl he meets along the way. The style of writing was very interesting because it included journal entries that Robin Lee Graham wrote during his travels and it was a very honest interpretation. I was on Robin's side the entire book wishing for him to keep going, and there are twists and turns that made me fear he would not make it. The book kept me interested right up until the last word! Although the book seems a little repetitive at some points, the author always found a different way to describe redundant situations and each time it seemed more and more urgent keeping me on the edge of my seat! The wonderful love story is just a bonus twist to the exciting plot and provided the book with a superb and sweet ending. I would definitely recommend this read for teens and up of either gender if you're looking for a diverse plot and a fairly easy read. This is by far one of the best Non-Fiction books I have read and I give it two thumbs up!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Dove is a true story of a 16-year-old boy named Robin Graham who sailed around the world in a 24-foot sailboat. Robin is a wealthy California boy who dislikes society life and would much rather go on sailing adventures to explore different cultures. He follows his dream of sailing around the world, but does not expect the intense lonliness or treacherous weather that would plague him. Neither does he expect the delight of visiting the natural world and making lifelong friendships. Dove is a well-written and easy to read book. Graham applies imagery and description to give the reader a clear image of the events. He also adds a touch of his own personal teenage humor, which makes this book great for youth or adults. Unfortunately, he does not clearly define his sailing terms so I, not having any sailing experience, was left to consult a dictionary. I also felt he could have expressed more of his emotions rather than blandly describing them. Overall, Dove is an engaging tale of humor, adventure and romance, and it will inspire you to follow your dreams and to live your life to the fullest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best seller Dove is an extrordinary book. It takes you along for the adventure of a lifetime and the best part of it all is that it's a true story. Sixteen year old Robin Lee Graham sets out to sail around the world by himself in a twenty foot dingy. It's a story of bravery, love, luck, friendship, and hardship. You literally watch a boy become a man in a couple hundred pages. It is truely an awesome story of tropical island and trecherus storms that only he can describe. The only thing that gets Robin through it all is his one love Patti Ratteree. A seventeen year old who is on an adventure of her own. This book tells you that life isn't always dull and mundane but can be exciting, spontanius, and full of adventure if you choose to make it that way. I recomend this book to any one who needs some inspiration or a spark to get their life pumping with excitement. I loved this book truely I did and if you take my advice im sure you will too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must read book. Mr. Graham takes the reader along for a wonderful ride.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book SHOULD have you hooked by the first page...if not, than there is something wrong with you:) In fact...i feel so strongly about this book that this is the second review i'm writing about it...OK, so i'm also a little bored. It was an enthralling true-life adventure of the first order. I thought they did a wonderful job documenting robin's journey as he grew from a boy (no ordinary boy - mind you) to a man. The beautiful decriptions of the places and people he encountered along the way made me want to start an adventure of my own...though probably not alone on a boat. I think everyone should have the experience of reading such a selfless, inspirational story. I really do think diferently about how i want to live my life after reading it. There was a part about finding God that i thought was a little fruity...but none-the-less, a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently went home to visit my folks and this book was sitting on the coffee table. i had no intentions of reading over my break but i picked it up anyways. i found myself hooked from page 1. what an inspirational read! It really reminded me that life is more about friendship and love than what kind of car you drive...or how big your house is. I think this book should be part of every high school's curriculum to give teenagers a brighter perspecive on life.