Grayson by Lynne CoxGrayson by Lynne Cox


byLynne Cox

Paperback | January 15, 2008

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The true story of a miraculous encounter between a teenaged girl and a baby whale off the coast of California It was the dark of early morning; seventeen-year-old Lynne Cox was swimming her last half mile back to the pier after a long workout when she became aware that something was swimming with her. The ocean was charged with energy as if a squall was moving in; whatever it was felt large enough to be a white shark coursing beneath her body. In fact, it was a baby gray whale. Lynne quickly realized that if she swam back to the pier, the young calf would follow her to shore and die from collapsed lungs. On the other hand, if Lynne didn't find the mother whale, the baby would suffer from dehydration and starve to death. Something so enormous-the mother whale would be at least fifty feet long-suddenly seemed very small in the vast Pacific Ocean. This is the story-part mystery, part magical tale-of what happened.
LYNNE COX has set records all over the world for open-water swimming. She was named a Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and honored with a lifetime achievement award from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Swimming to Antarctica, which won an Alex...
Title:GraysonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.52 inPublished:January 15, 2008Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0156034670

ISBN - 13:9780156034678

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Rated 1 out of 5 by from I Love Animals but Come On This book was badly written, it was written in such a childish way I couldn't believe it. I was drawn to it because I love animals and biographies. It would have been so much better if she had made the writing more sophisticated, more grown-up. I'm sixteen and I wouldn't write as badly as this, I couldn't do it. The story was touching, it is an amazing story of how we all feel the same things, whether we are human or animal. I would recommend this for the story alone, but be prepared for very childish thoughts and writing. I found the bad writing very distracting, but then I had just read two amazing books before hand. So, if you are looking for a light read get this from the library, I wouldn't spend my money on this.
Date published: 2008-03-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A little juvenile, often cliché - but touching. I find it hard to think bad things about this book because it's such a touching story. Being an animal lover, I was immediately drawn in by the plot, but overall I just felt like something was missing. The events in the book took place 30 years ago, when the author was 17, so I find that certain details are lacking and that some of her analogies are forced and cliché. I just feel like this extraordinary event could have been told by anyone, because the event itself was extraordinary, not the writing. However, overall it was an enjoyable, quick read. I would recommend it to animal loving kids/teens.
Date published: 2006-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story After reading the review in the Montreal Gazette visited the Chapters store and sat and read the whole book. What an amazing story. Since have purchased this book on line as a gift for my daughter aged 38 and her daughter 8. Both are book lovers. First time reading for a young person should be with an adult. Will be interested to hear their comments on completion of the book.
Date published: 2006-10-03

Read from the Book

One There’s something frightening, and magical, about being on the ocean, moving between the heavens and the earth, knowing that you can encounter anything on your journey.            The stars had set. The sea and sky were inky black, so black I could not see my hands pulling water in front of my face, so black there was no separation between the sea and the sky. They melted together.            It was early March and I was seventeen years old, swimming two hundred yards offshore, outside the line of breaking waves off Seal Beach, California. The water was chilly, fifty-five degrees and as smooth as black ice. And I was swimming on pace, moving at about sixty strokes per minute, etching a small silvery groove across the wide black ocean.            Usually my morning workouts started at 6 a.m., but on this day, I wanted to finish early, get home, complete my homework, and spend the day with friends, so I had begun at 5 a.m.            There were vast and silent forces swirling around me: strong water currents created by distant winds and large waves, the gravitational pull of moon and sun, and the rapid spinning of the earth. These currents were wrapping around me like long braids of soft black licorice, and I was pulling strongly with my arms, trying to slice through them.            As I swam, all I heard were the waves, rising and tumbling onto shore, the smooth rhythm of my hands splashing into the water, the breaths that I drew into my mouth and lungs, and the long gurgling of silvery bubbles rolling slowly into the sea. I slid into my pace, and I felt the water below me shudder.            It wasn’t a rogue wave or a current. It felt like something else.            It was moving closer. The water was shaking harder and buckling below me.            All at once I felt very small and very alone in the deep dark sea.            Then I heard a sound. I thought it was coming from the ocean’s depths.            At first it seemed to be a whisper, then it grew louder, steadily, like someone trying to shout for help but unable to get the words out. I kept swimming and trying to figure out what was happening.            The sound changed. It became stranger, like the end of a scream.            In my mind, I quickly went through a list of the ocean sounds I knew and compared them with what I was hearing. There were no matches.            The hairs on my arms were standing straight out.            Whatever it was, was moving closer.            The ocean was charged with energy. It felt uncertain and expectant, like the air just before an enormous thunderstorm. The water was electric.            Maybe that was it; maybe the water was warning of an approaching squall. Maybe energy from distant winds and torrential rains was being transmitted through the water.            I checked the sky above and the distant horizon.            Both were dull and as black as ink and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.            I lifted my head to see the wave height. The shore break wasn’t increasing and there weren’t any wind waves. Not even dimples on the ocean’s surface. There was no sign of a storm.            It didn’t make sense. The energy in the water was intensifying. I felt like I was sitting on a tree branch beside a nest of angry, buzzing bumblebees.            All at once, the sea’s surface erupted nearby. There was a rushing and plunking sound.            Like raindrops hitting the water. But nothing was falling from the sky. This was wrong.            Very wrong.            Out of the darkness, things were flapping into my face, flicking off my arms and head. It was like swimming through a sea of locusts, and with each impact my muscles tightened. I was tingling with fear, and all I wanted to do was to turn and sprint for shore.            But I told myself, Stay calm. You need to focus. You need to figure out what this is.            Taking a deep breath, I looked down into the deep black sea.            Thousands of baby anchovy were darting through the water like lit sparklers.            Blinded by panic, they were frantically tearing away from their schools and leaping out of the ocean like popcorn cooking on high heat. They were trying to evade something larger.            Light was exploding around me like hundreds of tiny blue flashbulbs constantly firing.            When I turned my head to breathe, something leaped into my mouth, wiggled across my tongue, and flapped between my teeth. It was larger than the water bug I once inhaled on a lake in Maine, larger than an anchovy.            Without thinking I spat it back into the sea. It had bright silver sides and was about six inches long. It was a grunion, a fish nearly twice as large as the baby anchovy. The grunion were chasing the anchovy, snatching them from the water and swallowing them whole.            More grunion were swimming in, bumping into my thighs, raking their pointy fins across my shoulders, but I smiled. The grunion had returned. Every year the grunion return to California in the spring and summer. They wait just offshore for the full moons or new moons when the tide is high, so they can swim ashore and lay their eggs. It always seems to be a miracle that they return every year and know exactly where and when to swim ashore.            A lone male grunion, a scout, swims ahead, and if the coast is clear, hundreds of female grunion follow him in, each with as many as eight male grunion swimming alongside. They choose a special wave, one that is on the receding tide so that it will carry them higher onto the beach, and the female’s eggs will not be washed out to sea.            Once a female reaches the beach, she digs a hole in the sand with her tail, then wiggles back and forth, drilling herself down into the soft wet sand until she is buried all the way up to her lips. There she lays up to three thousand eggs, and one of the male grunion arches around her and releases his milt to fertilize the eggs. Then the adult grunion swim back to sea while the eggs incubate in the warm sand for ten days. Then the baby grunion hatch and ride the tide back out to sea to begin their lives in the ocean.            I loved to watch them come ashore and I loved to go grunion hunting. It was a big event in Southern California. In summer, I would meet friends on the beach on moonlit nights and wait for the grunion. We’d spread our large bright-striped beach blankets on a berm, at the crest in the beach, beyond the reach of the incoming waves. We’d sit wrapped up in more warm woolly blankets, sometimes alone, or sometimes snuggled up with friends to stave off the cool, damp swirling ocean breezes. We’d talk, in muffled tones so no one would scare the fish away, about boyfriends and girlfriends, about summer plans and BBQs, about our lives and our families, our dreams and how we felt. We’d explore our lives, and sometimes touch hands under the blanket. We, too, were restless, awaiting our own high tide.  Copyright © 2006 by Lynne CoxEpilogue copyright © 2008 by Lynne CoxPublished by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf,a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for GRAYSON:Don'apos;t believe in interspecies communication? Grayson, author Cox'apos;s moving memoir about the lost baby whale she encountered when she was 17, just might change your mind." - People "An account of courage and adventure artfully rendered with the joy, wonder, and suspense it deserves." - The Boston Globe "A riveting adventure celebrating the mysterious bond between a champion swimmer and one wayward calf." - Elle "Together [Cox and Grayson] journey to the eventual mother-and-child reunion through a fantastical world of giant ocean sunfish, bat rays with five-foot wingspans and a school of dolphins." - The New York Times "