I loved loved loved this tale of a silly quest--to build a navigable craft entirely out of wine corks--that became a seriously-interesting adventure. Pollack completely succeeds in showing the reader why this ridiculous-seeming goal was in fact a creative and worthwhile challenge, and explaining how he got so many people to help. His enthusiasm is contagious and helps to put all of our arbitrary human pursuits in perspective. When he puts in context, Pollack's choice to step off the White House speechwriter hamster wheel to fulfill a lifetime dream (with its own crazy stress and impossible deadlines) makes perfect sense. The technical and personal obstacles are brought to life so vividly that when Cork Boat
triumphantly floated in the Potomac, and then sailed the Douro River in Portugal (the home of cork), I got choked up. Pollack writes beautifully and sincerely, without understating any of the difficulties. The closing lines:
But Garth says that, for our next project, we ought to build a rocket ship out of bottle caps. I've always wanted to go to the moon.