Interwoven with this ode to coral reefs—and the undaunted scientists working to save them against almost impossible odds—is the story of the author's attempts to help her daughter in her struggle with mental illness: On both fronts, Berwald explores what it means to keep fighting a battle whose outcome is uncertain.
... 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.