Holly FitzGerald is a debut author who will speak, read from her book, Ruthless River, and answer questions about the thrilling fight for survival! Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.
From Penguin Random House: “Holly FitzGerald was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. She graduated from Lake Erie College and received a master’s degree in counseling from Suffolk University. FitzGerald worked as a counselor with children and adults for many years before teaching andcounseling at Bristol Community College, New Bedford, Massachusetts. She lives in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
About RUTHLESS RIVER
A stunning debut; a Departures original publication. The ultimate survival story; a wild ride—the wildest—down a South American river in the thick of the Amazon Basin; a true and thrilling adventure of a young married couple who survive a plane crash only to later raft hundreds of miles across Peru and Bolivia, ending up in a channel to nowhere, a dead end so flooded there is literally no land to stand on. Their raft—a mere four logs—separates them from the piranha-and-caiman-infested water until they finally realize that there is no way out but to swim. Vintage Original.
Holly FitzGerald and her husband, Fitz—married less than two years—set out on a yearlong honeymoon adventure of a lifetime, backpacking around the world. Five months into the trip their plane crash lands in Peru at a penal colony walled in by jungle, and their blissfully romantic journey turns into a terrifying nonstop labyrinth of escape and survival.
On a small, soon-ravaged raft that quickly becomes their entire universe through dangerous waters alive with deadly animals and fish, their only choice: to continue on, despite the rush of insects swarming them by day, the sounds of encroaching predators at night. Without food or means of communication, with no one to hear their cries for help or on a search-and-rescue expedition to find them, the author and her husband make their way, fighting to conquer starvation and navigate the brute force of the river, their only hope for survival, in spite of hunger and weakening resolve, to somehow, miraculously hang on and find their way east to a large riverside town, before it is too late. . . .
Advance Praise for RUTHLESS RIVER
“A spectacular, frightening, and amazing odyssey that opens a window into the soul. I loved this book; I couldn’t put it down.”
—Lynne Cox, author of Swimming in the Sink
“One of the great survival tales. An almost unbearable story told with a physical and emotional intensity that draws the reader in, not just as witness, but as virtual participant. It’s an exhausting, painful, inspiring read.”
—Michael Palin, author of Traveling to Work
“A plane crash into a South American penal colony, a missed boat, and some well-intentioned locals lead a
young honeymooning couple well out of their depth in FitzGerald’s detailed, high-stakes debut memoir of
her true-life tale of survival in the Amazon, against desperate odds. In 1973, social-worker FitzGerald and
her reporter husband had been married less than two years when a storm stranded their homemade raft in a
dead-end channel off the Madre de Dios River in Bolivia. FitzGerald weaves in the stories from their past
with palpable, evocative details of their daily struggles with starvation, strong currents, and despair, all
while the couple’s love, self-knowledge, and faith deepen. Personal photos taken by FitzGerald mix with
rich detail about the towns, birds, bugs, and people along the couple’s journey, immersing the reader in the
wild jungle-river environment. Recommended for fans of survival narratives, coming-of-maturity stories,
and travelogues from off the beaten path.”—Booklist