The “Titanic Survivor” provided a rare glimpse into the Titanic’s sinking through the eyes of one lucky survivor, Violet Jessop. I was surprised to learn that not only was Violet Jessop a “Titanic Survivor,” but she also survived the sinking of the Britannia a few years later. Until this book, I thought the famed ‘Unsinkable’ Molly Brown was the only woman to claim that honor. Violet’s memoirs were written not long after Titanic, but were rejected by publishing houses! What fools! Found after her death, the memoirs were finally published. As the book tried to remain as true to Violet’s own writing as possible, the book was a little choppy and disjointed, but the portion devoted to the sinking made for a mesmerizing read.
When the ship sank, Violet was able to make it into a life boat, and then had a baby thrust into her arms. Her recollection of the atmosphere on deck at the time of the sinking was one of calmness. It seemed many aboard did not understand how critical being in a lifeboat would be because they believed other ships would be arriving any moment to rescue them before Titanic sank. Jessop also tells of her life prior to, and after, Titanic. Memorable passages included how she took a job as a nanny, and the fact that her family had worked on ocean liners before her. For me, the allure of the book was the recount of Titanic’s sinking, which occupied a far lesser amount of the novel that I would have liked.
For anyone who is interested in what those two hours were like, this book provides an interesting interpretation. But the remainder of the book was only mildly interesting.