Graham wrote this account of his personal experiences when he was twenty-two, shortly after the adventure was completed, at an age that appeals to many young adults. While he does not declare that he started the voyage with any other thought in mind than completing the trip, he took with him a tape recorder on which he could log his every thought, and he contracted with National Geographic for a series of articles about his trip. The tape-recorded messages are concerned with the routine of the voyage and the unusual events that occur; they also reveal his introspective nature, as he records and reports in Dove almost everything that happens. His language is that of an articulate young person.
Until he undertook this unusual challenge, Graham’s life was that of a boy in a typical middle-class family. His parents, however, were unusually supportive of his dream and provided him with the boat, Dove, that afforded him an escape that many young adults only dream about: putting school aside and getting on with the adventure of life. As Graham discovered, the adventure was hard work. More than once, he contemplated giving up, but his family and friends provided the support that he needed to continue. While young adults are attracted to the adventure in Graham’s story, they also understand the questions that Graham asked himself about who he was and what he wanted from life. Graham answered these questions as he became confident with his ability...
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Graham’s book was selected as a Best Books for Teenagers, as reported in the December, 1973, English Journal. Dove continues to appear on lists of books recommended for young adults, as it recounts a physical struggle for survival while detailing an inner battle for identity. It remains one of the few personal experience stories for young adults that was written by a young adult from the transcriptions of the struggles as they were occurring. An aura of authenticity therefore surrounds the basic struggle. The account is not tied to a specific time period, even though knowing the context in which it was written might enhance the reading; it is primarily a commemoration of independence, a celebration that transcends time.