The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island
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The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  1,628 ratings  ·  210 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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Alexa
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.
Andrea
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.
Suzanne
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".
Philippa
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...more
Brian
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...more
Ken
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...more
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...more
Bobbi
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
Donna
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.
Ellen
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.
Gail
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.
Jessie Lusher
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.
Erin
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...more
Deb
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...more
Ashley
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
...more
Elise
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...more
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...more
Kellie
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
Ann
Funny and honest. Really enjoyed her account of a very specialized way of life on a very tiny rock in the middle of nowhere. I think my favorite bit came early when she, her mom and dad were all hiding from Rita, who was out in their lawn stealing a trowel. Greenlaw captures voices and had an excellent eye for her own foibles as well as everyone else's, and it's quite fun to read about a woman who's not obsessed over her weight, her face or her latest man/husband/boyfriend.
Patty
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...more
Melissa
The author of the summary on the book jacket seems to have read a very different book than I did.

I haven't read her first book, which it appears she expected the reader to do. This seemed mostly like a collection of essays that you might read in Readers Digest. It wasn't what I was expecting. There were some amusing stories, but I kept waiting for the plot to start - or at least something to tie it together.
Converse

It used to considered too cruel in parts of New England to serve emprisoned convicts lobster more than once a week. Views have changed since then.

In Greenlaw's second nonfiction (mostly; she says in the introduction that there are a few characters who are composites of more than one actual person, and that some names have been changed) writes about being an (unwillingly) single woman living on the small island where she grew up in Maine, where she traps lobsters for a living. She has reached

...more
Frederick Bingham
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
Kaethe
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.
Katharine Holden
First 2 chapters are mildly interesting, then it's downhill from there. Very little happens, and while Greenlaw is an adequate writer, it takes a fantastic writer to make something out of nothing. Two parts caught my attention: One, the author mentions she likes the sound the lobsters make with their claws when in her boat. She says it's like applause. The lobsters have been captured at this point, their claws are banded so they can't use them, and all they can do is wriggle and rap on the crate...more
Mark Mallett
I wanted to like this more than I did - much of my ancestry runs through Maine; I recall visiting relatives as the worked in the sardine packing factories of Lubec, and so forth. To some degree I may have approached the book wrong: it's very episodic, whereas I kept expecting things left dangling in one chapter to be revisited and completed later. Perhaps if I'd not had that expectation I wouldn't have felt as let down, or felt that the ending was hurried. (OTOH, the fact that the book jacket ma...more
Nicole
What an amazing book! Actually heard about it from a lobsterman in Maine and couldn't resist picking it up. Greenlaw keeps you interested by telling short little stories that all combine to form the big picture. I was laughing out loud at parts!
Rachael
A quick read for my airplane ride. Lent to me by a coworker who had come back from a trip to Maine with this book. Interesting to hear the life of someone so out of the city and what we suburban girls take for granted. Certainly more interesting than that Orange is the New Black garbage....
Robert Beringer
I know that a lot of this was creative nonfiction, but I didn't care. Linda did a great job painting a vivid picture of a life on an island. I think those Island Boys were the inspiration for Duck Dynasty.
Hope
This was a good book. I say that with a bit of surprise in my voice. It is not that I expected it to be a fabulous book... I was intrigued by the cover so I picked it up at the Good Will.

It was much better than I expected and I laughed my way delightedly through it!

The author is a lobsterwoman on a tiny island in Maine. The book is filled with anecdotes about her life, her family and the lives of the others on the tiny island.

Not a fantastic-I'll-keep-forever-and-reread-every-year kind of book.....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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