Top critical review
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Enjoyable adventure tale, maybe a little lightweight
on 28 September 2007
This book is the story of Bear Grylls' attempt to cross the arctic Atlantic ocean in an open inflatable beat. Bear leads a team of five on this challenge, and he tells the story of how the trip was organised and how close it came to disaster.
I've read Bear's tale of climbing Everest (Facing Up) which is, to be honest, the better book. Facing the Frozen Ocean was an enjoyable holiday read but it didn't grip me in the same way that the Everest adventure did. Partly, I suspect that's because Bear himself loses the impetus to continue these adventures part-way through the trip; there is one appalling leg of the journey where death was very, very close. An angry Atlantic is no place to be in an open boat -- running out of fuel and left helpless in 20-foot swells. Bear questions why he is involved in this kind of escapade when he could be at home with his young family... and that sense of disengagement is obvious to the reader.
However, you also learn all about prepping for an expedition like this, and get a vivid description of what it was like. Bear's writing (or editor!) improves in this book so the text flows more easily than in Facing Up.
Overall, it's a fast-paced adventure tale -- just not one to rank among the classics.