By: Trish Doller
Float Plan by Trish Doller was a deeper story than I originally anticipated. The main character, Anna, loses her fiancé, Ben, to suicide. It was shocking to read and heartbreaking for both Anna and Ben. Due to this topic’s seriousness, Doller includes a warning at the beginning of her book letting her readers know that suicide will be a focal point in this story.
“…but kind is one of the easiest things to be.”
We are introduced to Anna months after her fiancé has died. Since his passing, her life has been tough; she has really struggled to find her footing without Ben.
Before Ben died, he bought a sailboat and planned a sailing trip around the Caribbean. Ben and Anna were going to embark on this trip together and get married on one of the islands they planned on visiting. Even though Ben is no longer alive, Anna makes a last-minute decision to go on this sailing trip alone. She feels this trip will help her cope with Ben’s loss while also keeping him close to her heart. Anna plans to follow the exact route laid out by Ben, stopping at every island he dreamed of visiting. With little knowledge in sailing, she departs off Florida’s coast, heading towards her first stop, Bimini.
Her first couple of days of sailing pose many difficulties, and she quickly realizes she cannot continue this trip alone. She needs to find someone with more experience to take this journey with her. Therefore she decides to put out an ad for an experienced sailor. This is when we meet Keane, an enthusiastic sailor originally from Ireland. He agrees to the terms laid out by Anna, and they begin their voyage, following Ben’s map.
They visit so many incredible places along the way. I researched some of the destinations they mentioned and was immediately struck by the beauty of each spot. Doller’s vivid detail describing these islands makes the reader want to drop everything and visit these beautiful locations.
“Carla once told me the best way to make a decision is to flip a coin. She said that when the coin is in the air, you’ll usually figure our what you truly want.”
Float Plan is a heartbreaking story of grief and loss. It was difficult reading about Anna’s inner struggle to enjoy her surroundings without Ben by her side. She felt guilty enjoying herself, always feeling like Ben should be the there happily sailing across the Caribbean. Anna initially embarked on this sailing adventure to get closer to Ben but, as time progressed, she found herself becoming more independent and empowered by all the challenges she was overcoming. She met many incredible people along the way that helped her accept her grief while also teaching her to enjoy life again. Although I found the book a bit slow and it never really captivated my attention, I still appreciate the importance of reading this story.
“Eventually – and I say this from experience – you’ll start building a new house beside the ruins of the old. When you’re ready, you’ll know.”