... splendid ... Berwald’s great strength lies in revealing a fast-moving, complex global catastrophe through easily understood case studies ... Life on the Rocks is far more than a paean to coral. Interwoven with Berwald’s research is an account of the mental health of her daughter, Isy ... Berwald puts the experience to good purpose, astutely weaving together the story about uncertainty that surrounds both OCD and reef science, as well as the slow and uncertain nature of recovery. Other tangents are less fruitful ... a book about everything risks being a book about nothing ... The most surprising aspect of Life on the Rocks is surely the many efforts being made to save coral reefs.
... brilliant ... does for coral reefs what Spineless did for jellyfish: offers a love letter to their resplendent beauty, issues a warning about their dire future and holds out cautious hope that they can flourish once again ... shimmers with radiant prose, sending out rays of hope for the future of coral reefs. As Berwald immerses readers in a glimmering undersea world, she also encourages them to discover ways they can support efforts to preserve the reefs, which play a key role in maintaining the fragile ecological balance of our oceans.
Entwined with the story of saving coral is Berwald’s engrossing personal history, which includes her daughter’s battle with mental illness ... A good option for readers interested in climate change and marine biology.
Berwald’s concern for her daughter and growing awareness of the intricacy surrounding the fight to save the reefs make for a compulsive reading experience. Solidly researched, sharply observed, and compassionately rendered, the parallel struggles in Life on the Rocks make for science writing that is illuminating on several levels.
Ocean scientist Berwald...blends memoir and science writing in this colorful look at the state of coral reefs ... she is reminded of her daughter through much of her research on reefs, making for moving dual story lines about health, healing, and hope. Nature-minded readers will find much to enjoy.
Science journalist Berwald...brings a doctorate in ocean science and keen curiosity to an energetic investigation of the plight of coral reefs, threatened by warming waters, overfishing, and pollution ... Along with sharply drawn profiles and lucid renderings of ocean life, the author interweaves her narrative with a memoir of family trauma: her teenage daughter’s overwhelming anxiety and OCD, whose causes seem as complex as the forces that assault coral reefs. An animated narrative that conveys a timely message.