Cover image for The boat of dreams : a Christmas story
The boat of dreams : a Christmas story
Preston, Richard, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2003]

Physical Description:
111 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
"A Touchstone book."
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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In 1969, William Foster, Sr., a thirty-three-year-old army reserve soldier, is lost in action in Vietnam. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Sarah Ann; a six-year-old daughter, Lila; and a thirteen-year-old son, Will, Jr. They live in a trailer on the coast of Maine, and parked beside the trailer is their father's beautiful but unreliable lobster boat, theSarah Ann.TheSarah Ann's graceful curves and beautiful wood are a painful daily reminder of Will Sr.'s plans and dreams -- dreams now lost with him.The December afternoons are lonely and dark for Lila and Will, who must come home alone from school while their mother works. They get scared when they find evidence that someone has been visiting the trailer, and when they come home to find a rugged, cantankerous, somewhat smelly old man watching TV, it takes them a while to realize he's...Santa Claus.What Santa does with the lobster boat and how he handles Will's one and only Christmas dream -- to have his dad back -- is the story ofThe Boat of Dreams.It brings laughter, surprises, and tears and tells through an unforgettable story how love is the one power that can overcome all.

Author Notes

Richard Preston graduated summa cum laude from Pomona College in California and received a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. He began his career as a journalist writing for the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler and Blair & Ketchum's Country Journal. He has also been a contributor to The New Yorker since 1985.

One of Preston's earlier novels, "First Light," was a book on astronomy that won him the American Institute of Physics Award, and he has an asteroid the size of Mount Everest named after him. He also wrote "The Hot Zone," which is a true story about an outbreak of the Ebola virus near Washington, D.C. and inspired the movie Outbreak that starred Dustin Hoffman. "The Cobra Event" is a thriller about biological weapons and terrorism. He spent three years researching biological weapons and his sources included high-ranking government officials, and the scientists who invented and tested these weapons. The story tells of a medical doctor who works with the FBI to stop an act of bio-terrorism in New York City. Preston is now considered an expert in the areas of disease and biotechnology; and the FBI and President Clinton, in regards to disease and bio-warfare, have sought out his opinion.

Preston has won several awards that include the McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Overseas Press Club of America's Whitman Basso Award for the best reporting in any medium on environmental issues for "The Hot Zone." His title Micro with Michael Crichton made the New York Times Best Seller list for 2011.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The gloomy days of a Maine winter seem colder and darker for Will Jr., Lila and their mother, Sarah Ann, as Christmas 1969 approaches-the first without their dad, a lobsterman, who was sent to Vietnam the year before and lost in action. Practically penniless, Sarah Ann refuses to sell the lobster boat her husband named for her-the family's one valuable possession-and instead scrapes by working at a local supermarket. Alone in their trailer after school each evening, the children are visited by Santa's surly specter: a beer-guzzling, B.O.-ridden ghost who camps out in their recliner to watch afternoon soap operas and showers in vain to remove his otherworldly stench. Sleighless and no longer capable of bringing physical gifts to the world's children after an unfortunate collision with the Hoover Dam, Santa's spirit enlists Will and Lila to help spread Christmas dreams with their dad's old boat and confront their own loss. Free of the usual holiday sugar overdose, Preston's inventive, droll story was originally written for a friend who was dying of breast cancer; a portion of the book's proceeds will go toward cancer research. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved