Wavewalker: Breaking Free   - Reviewed by Kerry Lee  | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Wavewalker: Breaking Free  

Written by: Suzanne Heywood


Reviewed by: Kerry Lee 

While most people daydream about sailing off into the great unknown, few of us go out and actually do it. In 1976 at just seven years old, Suzanne Heywood along with her parents and younger brother did just that, living an existence few of us could imagine. Wavewalker: Breaking Free is the story of how a journey following one of Captain Cook’s routes to the other side of the world turned into a decade-long struggle – sometimes a life-threatening one.

As a child, Suzanne was wedged between her father’s “benevolent dictatorship”, as he called it, and what she wanted. More times than not, she found herself at the mercy of his whims and was forced to put aside her own growing ambitions. As time went on, Suzanne became lonelier and more isolated, yearning to be just like any other person her age. Finally, at 17, she broke free and began studying at Oxford University in England.

While life at sea had its hazards and pitfalls, there were lighthearted moments as well – like a supposed-marriage gift of a chicken from a would-be suiter, or her mother’s brief but rather cringey sex talk. Heywood’s writing captures her adventures perfectly and made me feel as if I was there, sailing along with her. 

After finishing the book, I was left with so many questions. Why did her father decide to undertake such a perilous journey with two small children in tow? Why did a trip that was meant to last three years go on for 10? For me that is the mark of a good book, because it left me wanting more and stayed with me long after I finished reading. Wavewalker: Breaking Free shows that even in the strangest conditions you might find yourself in, there is still a way to move forward and achieve your goals.  

I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who has ever daydreamed about having adventures on the high seas.

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