NONFICTION

The Impossible First: An Explorer’s Race Across Antarctica

S. & S. Sept. 2020. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534461987.
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Gr 6 Up–Professional triathlete and world-record breaker O’Brady has a legacy of being great at whatever feat he undertakes. This young readers’ adaptation of his memoir is an example of his winning spirit. The compelling text chronicles O’Brady’s quest to complete the daunting 932-mile solo trek across Antarctica. O’Brady provides insight into his psyche throughout his journey as well as the movies and rivalries that fuel him. Through flashbacks, readers are able to sketch a composite of the experiences and character traits that formed O’Brady’s ambitious personality. Even against seemingly insurmountable odds—he sustained serious burn injuries while in Thailand in 2008 and doctors told him that he would never walk “normally” again—O’Brady finds a way to overcome. At the core of this narrative is a saga of perseverance and willpower that can only be accomplished through sheer might and the kind of vulnerable introspection that arises from two months of near solitude. Written in a relaxed, conversational tone, sometimes the memoir reads like a journal entry; other times the reading experience is like listening to the awe-inspiring tales of a good friend.
VERDICT Recommended for school and public libraries serving middle to high schoolers and fans of man-versus-nature adventures.

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