Book Report: The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw (2002)

I bought this book some years ago from the Quality Paperback Club, undoubtedly as one of the four or six books for a dollar deal. I was looking to branch out, and the write up of this book piqued my interest.

It’s about a woman, obviously someone with an English degree, who gives up her current life to return home to a small island off of Maine where the main industries are lobster fishing and working for the summertime residents. The life she gave up was not some sort of Assistant Professor (non-tenure track) position, but that of deep sea fishing boat captain. As a matter of fact, a character based on her appeared in A Perfect Storm played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Looking at the cover photographs, that casting choice might have been flattering.

So I started to read it, and her writing style is choppier than the sea in a Nor’easter. The book has no real narrative flow other than being her thoughts and asides over the course of a bad lobster season. She muses on the life on the island, some of the local characters, and the basics of lobster fishing. Then her mother gets cancer. Then the book ends.

Even though I started out thinking about how choppy the writing was, somewhere into the book I really overlooked it. I really enjoyed visiting a lifestyle so different from mine in a remote location. Also, I decided that the author looks less like Martin Short and more like she could be one of my relatives on the Noggle side, so she became like family. I also bought another of her books at a book fair this weekend, a later book which depicted an older Linda Greenlaw with all her limbs, which indicated that the book didn’t have a “I got caught in a lobster trap, lost an arm, but triumphed!” resolution.

I picked this book up immediately after reading The Tommyknockers, also set in Maine. Like A Salty Piece of Land, the cover of this book depicts the author by the sea. Sometimes I find similarities and threads among the books I read where they aren’t, really, but I mention them anyway.

Books mentioned in this review: