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The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  2,124 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
After seventeen years at sea, Greenlaw decided it was time to take a break from being a swordboat captain, the career that would later earn her a prominent role in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and a portrayal in the subsequent film. She felt she needed to return home -- to a tiny island seven miles off the Maine coast with a population of 70 year-round residents, 3 ...more
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published 2002 by Hyperion
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Nov 06, 2014 Jimmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I love lobster, but I find the whole process of how they are treated to be quite cruel. The idea that live lobsters can be shipped around the country in a box appalls me. So I pretty much avoid eating any. Ms. Greenlaw apparently doesn't share my concerns. She describes one time when she couldn't get to her traps. The lobsters are cannibalizing each other. She calls it a waste of food.

A more serious problem for the industry is climate change. The oceans are warming. Lobsters are beginning to di
Feb 08, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious. Linda Greenlaw is an excellent writer. Her non-fiction "The Hungry Ocean" about her days as a swordfish boat captain was gripping drama. But her two non-fiction "humorous" books are 180 degrees the opposite, but just as well written. Very very funny. She describes her quirky island-mates with keen-eyed sarcasm and compassion simultaneously, if that's possible. Laughed out loud through most of the book. See also "All Fishermen Are Liars" for equally humorous observations.
If I had any guts at all, I would sell all of my sutff, buy a bundle of warm sweaters and move to a tiny island in Maine (although probably not Isle au Haut where the author lives). But, I'm content in Chicago for the moment, where it is cold enough to wear sweaters while I cuddle up under the covers and read my way through Greenlaw's books about fishing/islands in Maine/fishermen.
Donna Galanti
Jun 12, 2016 Donna Galanti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Enjoyed this fun and nostalgic read and peek into a community I know nothing about! Greenlaw captures small town island life with color and humor while giving us insight into a very traditional and slowly retreating lobster-fishing lifestyle. Looking forward to reading her other book, The Hungry Ocean.
Sep 18, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in one slow day as a poll worker for the primary election.

Author Linda Greenlaw is a Maine fishing boat captain. She figured in The Perfect Storm, if you read that or saw the movie. After 17 years of commercial swordfishing, she decided to switch to lobster from her home on the small island Isle au Haut. This is a memoir of one season, with colorful tales of lobster fishing and the various residents of and visitors to the island.

Greenlaw, who has returned to swordfishing and can be se
Cynthia  Scott
I re-read this delightful book nine years after the first reading. I live in a place not unlike an island, isolated by mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. This is a story about an island on the Atlantic Ocean just off the New England coast, but the people and how they interact(and don't) could be about my town.

The issues of a small community with very limited financial opportunities trying to make rational decisions about how to survive now, how they attempt to solve their
Somehow I didn't think this was as good as her first book, "The Hungry Ocean" but I still enjoyed it immensely. I have sailed in her hometown waters and her description of weather and downeast life are "spot on".
One of my husband's all-time favorite movies is The Perfect Storm. For him, it was the perfect thriller, one that had him on the edge of his seat and breathless in the movie theater. Because of this, I picked up The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea somewhere in my wanderings through used bookstores, but have yet to get to it. This weekend, my little family and I wandered around Massachusetts, first to Falmouth on Cape Cod, where I picked up this book at the library sale at the ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Philippa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Review published in the New Zealand Herald, 29 March 2003

The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island
Linda Greenlaw
(Schwartz Publishing)

Reviewed by Philippa Jamieson

After seventeen years away on swordfishing boats in the North Atlantic, Linda Greenlaw returns home to a tiny island off the Maine coast. She takes up lobster fishing, like most people on Isle a Haut, and also hopes to find a man, build a house and have children.
The Lobster Chronicles is memoir of a woman at a turning point in
Mar 11, 2010 Ken rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
In The Lobster Chronicles, Linda Greenlaw takes readers through lobster season on a small island off the coast of Maine. She details the painstakingly repetitive processes entails in lobster fishing, and she shares stories about the island and the people who live there.

At the center of the story are her parents, with whom she lives, and her relationship with them. She describes her relationship with her father through her tales of fishing, as he works for her on her boat, and she details the con
Taylor M.
May 23, 2016 Taylor M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just moved to Maine and found this at a library book sale. Very witty, even laugh out loud funny at time. She describes that there was some difficulty finishing the book and I would guess it came at about the time her mother faced breast cancer. There is a shift to much less detail, and for obvious reasons, wit and humor. You can here the weight of sadness and stress that time brought her. I look forward to reading more of her work. Great to learn about the area I live near now. Just today I g ...more
I wish I could have given this a 3.5. Linda Greenlaw is an intelligent, excellent writer. The book was funny, poignant and a wonderful book to read in between heavier ones. I thoroughly enjoyed the trials and tribulations of living on a very small island and lobstering. Linda has other books she's written since, which I will surely read. Her previous book was "The Hungry Ocean" in which she describes her 17 years as a swordfisherman off the coast of Massachusetts. Perhaps most famous for being t ...more
Feb 24, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the characters introduced by Linda Greenlaw, though I wouldn't want to be one of the ones she satires. Greenlaw has a way of describing events and people in her life so that you feel you are there too...I could really see the people in her town, the things they cared about and fought over in town meetings. I loved the description of her relationship with her parents and how she worked with her father--a great read.
Feb 13, 2009 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, 2009
I was disappointed in this book; I found it oddly disjointed, with no real thread to hang on to. Some new information on lobstering, and some familiar (to me) observations of life in Maine. I expected a different book, I think. She is on the mark about small town life, though, with its good and bad sides.
Jul 14, 2014 Kaethe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like so many others, I was interested in Greenlaw because of The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea. But where Junger is an outstanding writer, Greenlaw is merely okay. The book was fine, but not memorable.
Aug 01, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We met and heard Linda Greenlaw at an author's event on Islesboro this summer. I instantly liked her and picked up this book, deciding to read about Isle au Haut before delving into her deep sea adventures.

It did not disappoint. A great glimpse into Maine Island life told through the eyes of a strong and independent woman.
Jessie Lusher
Jan 14, 2008 Jessie Lusher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I'm not into sea stories or commercial fishing but I wouldn't have missed this book for the world. Fishermen are a different breed altogether and Linda Greenlaw is a rare and wonderful woman. This book makes me wish I wasn't such a wuss.
Kara Ripley
May 05, 2017 Kara Ripley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I only picked this book up because of the title. I thought it was funny. But I really enjoyed this memoir about living on a small island as a lobster fisher.
Jan 09, 2017 Joyce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Public library copy. Note to self: don't read any more of her books! High language alert.

Of course I read Hungry Ocean after reading (and watching) the Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger (and George Clooney). I've wanted to read about what Linda Greenlaw was doing in Maine, after captaining the Hannah Boden in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Having been on a lobster boat once, and having worked in the seafood department of a grocery store, I am familiar with the trapping and banding of lobsters. The s
I first met sword boat captain Linda Greenlaw in the late ’90s, when Sebastian Junger introduced her to the world on page 36 of The Perfect Storm:
The only other sword boat in the harbor that might be able to outfish [the Andrea Gail] is the Hannah Boden, skippered by a Colby College graduate named Linda Greenlaw. Not only is Greenlaw one of the only women in the business, she’s one of the best captains, period, on the entire East Coast. Year after year, trip after trip, she makes more money tha
Aug 19, 2012 Deb rated it liked it
Linda Greenlaw's second book (following her highly-regarded and successful first book, "The Hungry Ocean") follows the author as she gives up sword fishing and returns to her parents' home on the tiny island of Isle au Haut, Maine, intent on becoming a lobster fisherman. She gives quite a bit of insight into the lobstering life of the islanders in the late 1990's, but even more so the nature of "life on a very small island".

I have to admit being more than a little annoyed with the author's whin
Aug 21, 2013 Elise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It’s very likely that The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain’s Journey is a fantastic novel detailing the adventures and travails that come with romping the sea on the prowl for swordfish, those dashing musketeers of the sea. And it’s also highly probable that Linda Greenlaw’s publisher expected The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island to be just as exciting and compelling a tale.

And it’s these assumptions that lead me to my conclusion: that said publisher did not actually read this fo
3.5 Stars

I'm very partial to books about Maine. I have an entire shelf of them. So it isn't at all surprising that The Lobster Chronicles should end up on that shelf. This is a lovely little memoir about lobster fishing and living on a small island in Maine. Much of the book actually deals more with living in a very small island community that with the lobster fishing. But it does give a good overview of her job as a fisherman and her day to day life. If you aren't interested in lobsters or smal
Sep 27, 2011 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
Don’t ask me why I picked this book off the Half Price Books clearance shelf years ago. I couldn’t tell you. All I can say is that something about the book’s premise — living off the land (or sea, really) on a tiny island in the Northeast — appealed to me.

The Lobster Chronicles didn’t disappoint in that regard. It’s not a long volume, but it manages to touch on all kinds of things: the island and its residents (both summer and year-round), the lobstering industry (from the gear to the politics a
Trixie Fontaine
It was fun to read this while I myself am ON a Very Small Island for a few days. On the other side of the country and with no lobster, but still . . .

Linda Greenlaw's books are accessible reads. I was glad there was more swearing in this book than in The Hungry Ocean, not because I think all books need the "F" word, but because The Hungry Ocean seemed overly sanitized without much of it, like she was either a weird puritan or bullshitting her readers.

One of my favorite things about this book and
Jul 16, 2010 Megalion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this while vacationing in Stonington, ME which is the nearest "mainland" to Isle Au Haut where she lives and writes about in this book. I'd actually already been out by the island on a boat tour by Capt Walt (highly recommended) and seen the Mattie Belle and the store and church so reading this book was particularly enjoyable to be able to apply the stories to the shoreline I saw a couple days before.

It's also good for lighthouse fans as she talks about Robinson Lighthouse on the islan
After seventeen years at sea, being a swordboat captain, the career that would later earn her a prominent role in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, she felt it was time to take a break and return home - to a tiny Island seven miles off the Maine coast with a population of 70 year-round residents, 30 of whom are her relatives. She would pursue a simpler life; move back in with her parents and become a professional lobsterman.
I really liked Greenlaw's style of detailing just enough of an incid
WHAT A KICK. I picked up this book in Camden, Maine, because it was a first edition, SIGNED - and I wanted to read something in Maine about Maine - part of my penchant to "read where you ARE!" AND I LOVED IT. She is a lobsterman (lobsterwoman?), living on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. Her characters (there are only 47 full-time inhabitants of the island) are absolutely wonderful. Her writing is terrific. Her self-revelation is amazing and charming. My only regret is that I never got to m ...more
Nov 12, 2008 Kellie rated it liked it
After seeing the movie, The Perfect Storm, I was enamored with the character Linda Greenlaw and wanted to learn more about her. So I read her first book, The Hungry Ocean. This is about her life on her boat fishing for swordfish and it was enjoyable. Later on in life. She decides to go home to the island where she was born, and fish for lobster with her Dad. This was more like a book of essays. Essays about things that happen in her life during this time on the island. The problem with this is, ...more
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 Frederick Bingham rated it liked it
The second book by the author of 'The Hungry Ocean'. 'The Hungry Ocean' was a companion to 'The Perfect Storm'. This book describes life on a very small island in Maine. The author retired from fishing for swordfish on the high seas and moved back to her home which is on Isle au Haut in Maine. She became a lobster fisherman, spending her days setting and retrieving pots. In the off-season she repairs lobster pots and her boat. She describes what it is like to live on a small island. She discusse ...more
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Linda Greenlaws three bestselling books about life as a commercial fisherman -- THE HUNGRY OCEAN (1999), THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES (2002) and ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS (2004) -- have climbed as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is the winner of the U.S. Maritime Literature Award in 2003, and the New England Book Award for nonfiction in 2004. Time Magazine called her 2005 RECIPES FRO ...more
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