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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Voyage Beyond Reason by Tom Gauthier is the fictional retelling of Benjamin Wade's kayak journey based on the journal entries fashioned by Wade himself. Gauthier explains that he found the entries hidden on a cliff in Colombia and was so moved by Wade's story that he wanted to share it. In 1996 Wade left Southern California to embark on a 6,000-mile journey over six months in a solo kayak. With limited supplies and limited knowledge of what he might expect to find and experience, Wade traversed the coast of South America. Along the way, he battled the elements, sharks, hostile weather conditions and people, and physical and mental fatigue that gave way to some of the story's most harrowing points, but also some of its most uplifting. Gauthier narrates Wade's story in the third-person from Wade's point of view and with the inclusion of his subject's journal entries.
Anyone who watches reality television will know Benjamin “The Dragon Slayer” Wade from his wild stunts on the Survivor Series. Much of what Wade professed of his experiences on the show was found to be either embellished, impossible, or unverifiable, with his penchant for bombastic storytelling making him one of the most hated villains in the show's history. When reading A Voyage Beyond Reason, one has to push away their personal feelings and, if they've read it, the details Wade wrote in his own autobiography, No Turning Back. Tom Gauthier expressly states that this novel is a work of fiction and his execution of it from a literary standpoint is very well done. The writing is clean and tight with an insightful nod to its subject but taking on an authentic life of its own. Gauthier injects humanity into a man that few might see otherwise, using the journal entries—however sketchy their credibility may be—to weave a tale of adventure with the panache of a seasoned writer. In my estimation, that makes Tom Gauthier the true hero and Voyage Beyond Reason worthy of a read.