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The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,154 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
Declared a triumph by the New York Times Book Review, Linda Greenlaw's first book, The Hungry Ocean, appeared on nearly every major bestseller list in the country. Now, taking a break from the swordfishing career that earned her a major role in The Perfect Storm, Greenlaw returns to Isle au Haut, a tiny Maine island with a population of 70 year-round residents, 30 of whom ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published June 11th 2003 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2002)
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Nov 06, 2014 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Piepie Beuttel
I love books that portray Maine so well that you can smell the salt air and feel the ocean under your feet. Gulls flying above you and the pitch of the lobster boat in the water.

That's what you get here in this book. Some parts were dry/uninteresting, other parts kept my attention. I felt like I was "right there." I would be open to reading Linda's other books, including even her mysteries.
Julie Yee
We've been vacationing in Maine for a number of years and I was always interested in learning about the fishermen in that area. This book is tells the reader what it's really like to fish for lobster and live on a small island all year long. It's a very hard job with a fluctuating income stream. They are like farmers...always at the mercy of nature.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Different from other books I read, yet thoroughly enjoyable. I've put her other book The Hungry Ocean on reserve at the library.
Kara Ripley
May 05, 2017 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.
Marian H.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Completely entertaining with some wonderful anecdotes. Waterborne she may be, but Linda Greenlaw is totally down to earth. I could easily read this again for the sheer fun of it!
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maine
Perfect book to read while on vacation in Maine.
Cole Brandon
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greenlaw is a fantastic writer! Honest, vivid, and an expert at the craft.

(I can't forgive her editor, Will Schwalbe, for the horrendous mistake missed on pg. 206)

Moira Carlock Rivas
Found this to be a thin read, lacking detail, substance.
Jan 09, 2017 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
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 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
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine books 2 184 Jul 06, 2017 06:57AM  
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  • A Year in the Maine Woods
  • A Country Year: Living the Questions
  • The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier
  • Deadliest Catch: Desperate Hours
  • Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters
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  • Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly
  • The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers
  • Long Distance
  • The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean (P.S.)
  • Sail Away: Journeys of a Merchant Seaman
  • Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay
  • Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs
  • On the Road with Charles Kuralt
  • The Memory of Water
  • North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters
  • Queer Eye for the Straight Guy : The Fab 5's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better
Linda Greenlaw's 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 FR ...more
More about Linda Greenlaw...

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