Into the Planet by Jill Heinerth
Published by Doubleday Canada on September 10th, 2019
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
“If I die, it will be in the most glorious place that nobody has ever seen.”
I found out about this book through an ad on Instagram. As someone who’s a novice scuba diver, I’m so glad this book didn’t slip under the radar.
Jill Heinerth—the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations— has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman.
In Into the Planet, Heinerth takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the sexism in the diving community, and her endeavour to recover a fallen friend’s body from the confines of a cave.
Through the danger of diving, there’s beauty to be found. Heinerth takes us on a journey to discovering the depth of our oceans, working with biologists discovering new species, and physicists tracking climate change.
This isn’t the perfect book (which I’ll get into a little bit later), but it’s been awhile since I felt so engrossed in a book.
When Heinerth was describing her scariest moments underwater, I felt every single moment with her. It really felt like I was experiencing her panic, her pain, and her relief.
She did an excellent job bringing the reader along for the ride. I was kind of shocked by how claustrophobic I felt reading about the tight spaces in the various caves. And I’m not even claustrophobic. I’m even getting panicked just thinking back about some of the descriptions now!
I’m truly in awe of her and anyone else who continue to push the limits of human capability. These divers are putting their lives in danger to go where no humans have gone before. Isn’t it wild that more than eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored?!
The book and Heinerth’s writing really shine when she’s describing her dives. And I absolutely loved the photos that she included. Some of the ones she took underwater are truly breathtaking. And I really liked seeing the evolution of her as a diver throughout the photos.
I’ve always been loved learning about the ocean, but now I think I’m even more obsessed because of Heinerth’s book. Her deep love and appreciation for nature really struck a chord with me.
And I respect that she opened up about the sexism she’s experienced in the diving community. The vitriolic attacks on her online or the microaggressions she experienced in person are troubling. It made me so sad to read about what she went through, but look at all she’s accomplished now!
Now, let’s get into why I gushed about this book but only gave it 3.5 bubble teas.
If this memoir was purely about all the thousands of dives she’s been on, I would’ve gave it a perfect rating.
Like I said earlier, that’s truly where her writing is outstanding. Unfortunately, I thought the memoir dragged in so many spots.
The focus on her relationship was obviously such a huge part of her life as a woman and as a diver, but I thought it went on for so long. And she kept repeating herself that her marriage wasn’t going well and she had guilt about things. For me, I thought it was boring.
I thought those pages could’ve been put toward more descriptions of dives throughout her career. But I do understand why she included those aspects of her life in the book. It’s her memoir, after all!
Even if you’re not a scuba diver and just have an interest in nature, this is a fascinating read. But I’d be careful if you get queasy about things. There are some pretty harrowing things described! If you can make it through, you’ll be treated to some out of this world stories of what lies deep beneath the water!