5.0 out of 5 stars A Harrowing Tale of Survival! September 7, 2013
By Dr. Scott D. Churchill
Jeff Gardner has written a concise and compelling masterpiece of autobiographical narrative with his "Changing Tides." Stephen King would be proud to have written such a saga, except for one thing: this book is not fiction, but fact! And yet it is a page-turner like the best of King's work -- "Misery" comes to mind, for its switching back and forth between different pieces of the story, deconstructed and woven into tapestry of one man's decade-long journey from Long Island to heaven to hell and back. It would be incredible source material for a Hollywood production of a psychological thriller that starts out with Jimmy Buffet on the beach and ends with Hannibal Lector -- in the form of a young psychopath and his "homeys" who corner you in your own home when you are alone and defenseless.
I am generally a slow reader, but could not put this down. It seemed that the narrative's own "changing tides" -- the ebb and flow of each sub-chapter in the life of this survivor -- kept me glued to the page. Each twist and turn in this existential drama contains its own reward; and yet one keeps coming back to what emerges as the central thread of a nightmare that is truly beyond belief. I found it unfathomable to try to imagine what it must have been like to endure what this man has endured. And the amazing thing is, what comes through, beyond the horror, is the positive outlook on life that sustained Jeff not only through his ordeal, but through the beautiful episodes of his encounters with the friends and lovers he meets along the way.
It is indeed the author's perspective on life, on his encounters with others, that is most memorable for me: far from being just an account of events as they took place, this book takes you into the psyche of its narrator, and you leave the encounter feeling like you've gained a new friend, someone who you will carry with you into your own next adventure ... or ordeal.
"Changing Tides" is a deeply moving story that will stay with you long after you finish its epilogue. "The Grateful Dead got it right: `What a long, strange trip it's been.' "
***** 5.0 OUT OF 5 STARS AMAZON REVIEWS - CHANGING TIDES IS OUR LIFE! Jeff is everyman's sailor...we dream of far away places, exotic women and adventures. But most never make the trip, Jeff did and brings us along for a beautiful adventure with his Changing Tides and his foxy deck hands...I felt I was there with him, almost! I could not put this book down.... -By Bob Arias (Panama...Paraguay) June 6, 2010 *****
IT'S THE ULTIMATE MALE FANTASY! Buy a sleek, sexy boat and sail away from the drudgery, the boredom and the mid-life doldrums to a world of adventure on the high seas. And Jeff Gardner did it! Jeff bought a gorgeous fifty-one-foot cutter, designed by Robert Perry, that had clean decks and a perfect teak wood staved interior that only the Taiwanese know how to build. He christened it Changing Tides and left his successful public relations business and troubled marriage for the cruising life in the Caribbean, partying with locals as well as social nobility like Jimmy Buffett and Caroline Kennedy.
Eight years later in Panama, having survived hurricanes on the high seas, the romance and treachery of assorted women sailing companions, a scramble for weapons as pirates seemed to surround him, and adventures most of us can only dream about, he found himself being savagely beaten to death by intruders in a twist of events he could never have imagined. THIS IS HIS TRUE STORY!