Message in a Bottle

| Message in a Bottle

Reviewed by: Barb Mills

Holly Hogan’s book Message in a Bottle is a timely, complex, beautiful and distressing book.  A must read for all of us who love this planet’s oceans and her creatures.  As a  seabird biologist for 30 years, living on the coast of Newfoundland and travelling the ocean currents of the world,studying sea life; Holly is able to provide  an in-depth understanding of the complex patterns that sustain this planet’s waters and the complex ecosystems within it.

The reader is quickly drawn into this book with its  lyrical prose that engages the senses leaving the reader deeply enamoured with the biologist’s subjects. Ws are introduced to the birds, fish and mammals that follow the ocean’s currents from pole to pole and back again in order to migrate, feed and reproduce. Because the author’s writing is so exceptional,  the reader may even forget that she is getting a complex science lesson and a disturbing understanding of how warming temperatures and ocean pollution threaten the essential life processes of its inhabitants..

Once the reader falls in love with the awesome marine ecosystems, Holly skillfully introduces the threats that plastic and fossil fuel exploration and production pose to these precious creatures and their life processes.  In her travels to study her subjects, she also documents such sights as seabirds with plastic bags attached to both wings struggling to fly and dive.  Whales dying a slow death encased in fishing nets; and disturbing images of 3000 dead dolphins washed ashore on Peruvian beaches as a result of seismic testing for the presence of seabed oil.  And this of course makes us question our government’s Baie to Nord plan to explore and drill for oil in Canada’s most productive Grand Banks ecosystem.

Mark your calendars because we will have the privilege of hearing Holly discuss her book on January 6, 2024, where she will co-present with her husband Michael Crummy.  Keep your eye out for more details in the Flagstone or the Readers and Writers Festival website.

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