Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan PhD and Tere Duperrault Fassbender

Alone is a riveting true story of one young girl’s survival against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Green Bay Optician Arthur Duperrault saved money to take his family (wife Jean, 14-year old son Brian, 11-year old daughter Terry Jo, and seven-year old daughter Renee) on an adventure of a lifetime. In the fall of 1961, the family chartered a cruise around the Caribbean on the Bluebell with Captain Julian Harvey and his wife, Dene. The week long cruise is ideal until the fateful end. Captain Harvey is rescued with the body of little Renee and no other survivors are found. As Harvey tried to explain the tragic “accident” at an inquest, surprising news comes in that Terry Jo has been found alive after four days alone at sea. Harvey leaves the inquest and commits suicide in his motel room. What happened on the fateful cruise? How did Terry Jo survive and how did she reclaim her life?

This book was an interesting and horrifying true crime mystery. It gave the background of all of the participants. I especially loved that the book couldn’t describe Green Bay without a paragraph devoted to the beloved Green Bay Packers. Julian Harvey, the handsome captain, was also found out to be much more than he appeared to be. The mystery will never be truly solved, but I thought the theory of what happened was good.

My favorite chapter was the afterward by Tere Duperrault Fassbender where she describes her current life and how she fell in love with her husband. It was difficult to read about all of the troubles Fassbender had since the murder of her family, but it was also uplifting that she was finally able to get the help that she needed and to have the support of a wonderful husband and children.

Fassbender is actually a resident of my small town of Kewaunee, Wisconsin. I wonder if I see her in the Piggly Wiggly when I am shopping. It would be fun to sit down with her at one of my book clubs and talk about this book, but I am too chicken to track her down and ask. One of my book club members had first heard of this book and told us about it. I also read an article in our local paper about it. It was interesting as she is a resident of my town, but it is a good book on its own. It seems like a story that could only be fiction, but unfortunately it is not. I am too young to have heard this story in the national news, but I think it would be interesting for both those who know about it and those who do not. My husband really liked the forward by Les Stroud, aka “Survivorman.”

Overall, Alone is a fascinating, disturbing true story that I will always remember and will provide much discussion for our book club!

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. Great review, Laura. The book does sound quite fascinating. (Is the Piggly Wiggly a supermarket?)

  2. Yes, the Piggly Wiggly is our one and only local grocery store. I just love the name . . . there aren't any Piggly Wiggly's in Michigan (where I grew up).

  3. Wow! This one does sound good! I'm definitely adding it to my wish list because I am intrigued, particularly considering that it is a true story. Thank you!