I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
I Had To Survive: How A Plane Crash In The Andes Inspired My Calling To Save Lives by Dr. Roberto Canessa and Pablo Vierci – the title alone caught my attention.
I love reading survival stories, whether it is a fictional or nonfiction, an “end of the world as we know it” type story or one that involves a struggle against nature. There is something about the struggle, both physically and emotionally, that appeals to me.
When I was younger I would imagine myself in the main character’s shoes. Would I make the same choices? What would I have done differently? Would I have the endurance to face the same challenges?
As I started reading I Had To Survive I quickly went from looking forward to a story of struggle and overcoming obstacles to trying to follow the story without being completely lost. Events jumped around in time making it hard to get a grasp of what was going on. Then it jumped to the present when Dr. Canessa was talking about being a doctor and how his experience with the crash affected how he related to his patients. The connection seemed forced as if he was reaching for a string between the two that was not there. Then the story would take you back to the time of the crash, but not at the point you left off.
After the first few chapters I was still struggling with the flow of the book, but began to piece things together enough to follow. Half way through, though, I was ready to put the book down and call it quits. Not only was I not understanding the point of the book nor in which direction I was heading, but the flow of the words was rough and hard to read through at a quick pace. I stuck with it and found that the second half of the book was told mainly from the patients point of view. While these stories were emotional and about the efforts of Dr. Canessa and how he instilled hope in them, I was still not quite sure how this fit together with the story of the plan crash.
At the end of I Had To Survive (or at least the ebook version I was reading) I came across a Note From The Author. I do not always read these sections, but was really glad I did. Actually, I would have preferred this to be a Preface at the beginning of the book instead of a note at the end, as what I read explained the reason for the book. If I had read these few pages hours ago, as the beginning of the book my experience would have been completely different. I would have known to read the book in the context of what the author was trying to achieve – to tell the story of one of the survivors of the crash and how this event affected his life.
In all this was not one of my favorite books, as it took a lot of effort to read and follow. In retrospect I came away with a bit more hope for humanity. In the face of extreme circumstances we can still show respect for others and even give hope to others after our last breath has left our body. We can stand more than we ever thought and make it through the other side. There will still be scars, but we can do it and live a successful life.
I Had To Survive: How A Plane Crash In The Andes Inspired My Calling To Save Lives by Dr. Roberto Canessa and Pablo Vierci will be released March 1, 2016.