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Book Review: The Lobster Chronicles

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In The Lobster Chronicles, Linda Greenlaw paints a picture of life on an island which has only about 70 permanent residents.  (Seasonal residents add to the population in the summer.)  Isle au Haut, off the cost of Maine, has no roads to the mainland; one must take a boat.  The island is home to lobster fishermen (lobstermen?) of which Greenlaw is one, a small K-8 one-room school, one church, a general store, and little else.

Greenlaw describes what it’s like to live in such a tiny community, with all the positives (such as being very tightly knit) and negatives (including a lack of marriageable men), as well as the tasks and challenges involved in making a living from lobster.  She does a good job of explaining the tools and methods used for trapping lobster, as well as the issues involved with zoning, competition, and pricing.  The descriptions of island life and lobstering are interesting.

What keeps this book from being great, however, is Greenlaw’s attitide.  She admits she’s a complainer, and when things go wrong (specifically, when lobster traps come up empty for much of the season), she whines and grumbles and sulks.  Unfortunately, the fact that Greenlaw is aware of this trait does not make it easier to read.  While discouragement is understandable when money is tight and lobsters are scarce, Greenlaw nurses a bad attitude which makes the reading expereince less pleasant than it could be.

If complaining doesn’t bother you, this book would be an enjoyable, interesting read.  If whiners irritate you, the book is merely informative.

Score: 6/10


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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