When ten-year-old Michael Baughman moves to Hawaii with his parents, he is troubled and confused. His father doesn’t provide the guidance Baughman needs and the boy doesn’t know who to turn to. When a larger-than-life Hawaiian beachboy” named Boat takes Baughman under his wing, the boy finds a teacher and mentor. Boat is 285 pounds of solid muscle but gentle spirituality, and he introduces the boy to the ways of Hawaiian mysticism, offering simple, profound wisdom that helps Baughman thrive in an otherwise lonely childhood. Even after Baughman leaves the islands seven years later, the unlikely friendship endures for the rest of Boat’s life, influencing and inspiring the author to this day.
Baughman’s narrative begins with a distressed boy at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game and ends more than six decades later with himself as a content old man experiencing a miracle in Mexico. With a photographic memory, Baughman recalls virtually verbatim every significant conversation he had with Boat. Boat spoke Hawaiian Pidgin English, and its unique lilt and rhythm grace this touching memoir. A testament to friendship and the revelations provoked by wisdom in unexpected places.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This chronicle of a young man's friendship with an amazing Hawaiian man named Boat had the potential to be a great memoir. Instead, the author's preoccupation with himself leaves the reader feeling shortchanged. The characters seem flat and lifeless as if the author is afraid to let them speak in their own voices. Even Boat isn't portrayed with the depth of feeling that he deserves. I enjoyed the book, but I wish that the author had waited to write it until he has matured as a writer. As it is, he doesn't quite do justice to a person as strong and loving as Boat must have been.