Title: The Lobster Chronicles
Author: Linda Greenlaw
Page Count: 238 pages
Genre: Travel writing
Tone: Richly detailed, Character driven, Nostalgic
Excerpted summary from publisher:
After 17 years at sea, Linda Greenlaw decided it was time to take a break and move back home to a tiny island off the Maine coast to pursue a simpler life as a lobsterman and find a husband. But all doesn’t go as planned. The lobsters refuse to crawl out, fellow islanders draw her into bizarre intrigues, and the eligible bachelors prove elusive. But just when she thinks things can’t get worse, something happens forcing her to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about life, luck, and lobsters. Filled with nautical detail and the dramas of small-town life, The Lobster Chronicles is a celebration of family and community.
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.
1. What did the author hope to accomplish by writing this novel? Was this strictly a story of a typical season of lobstering as the author mentioned in “The Note From the Author?”
2. Do you feel you learned a lot about the lobstering business from reading this book?
3. Does the life of lobstering appeal to you?
4. How would you describe a typical small-island lobsterman? What personality traits do lobstermen share? Why do they choose this profession?
5. What are the pros and cons of living on a small island like Isle au Haut?
6. Did you like the author’s writing style?
7. Did you find this story funny? If so, what parts stand out as humorous?
8. Linda Greenlaw has a college degree. Why did she decide to fish and then lobster rather than get a “real job” like her parents wished she would do?
9. Why do you think her parents said they wished she would get a “real job”? Do you think they really meant it? Did you find it ironic that her dad quit his “real job” and joined her in lobstering?
10. On page 207, did Linda waste her education fishing and/or lobstering? Do you agree that whatever path a person takes, “education is always being used?”
11. Was Linda a good business person?
12. How did you feel about the way Linda handled her gay helper Stern-Fabio?
13. Describe Linda’s relationship with her father.
14. Were you surprised (on page 106) how strongly Linda felt about removing the mainlanders’ gear from the islanders’ protected area – when the rest of the islands gave up so easily? Why was she so passionate about this compared to how laid back she was when Stern-Fabio stole her truck?
15. On page 221, why did the author include the chapter on Dorothea “Dotty” Dodge, the lady that she didn’t know very well?
16. After reading the book, did you believe the author when she said, “As proud as I am to say I’m an islander, nothing makes me prouder than to say, ‘I’m a fisherman.’ And that is not apt to change.”?
17. What were your thoughts when Linda told us that she is building a year-round home, but is undecided about how much of the year she will stay?
Linda Greenlaw’s writing process
Greenlaw on BookTV (starts at 8:20)
Guide to Lobstering in Maine
If you liked The Lobster Chronicles, try…
Four Wings and a Prayer by Sue Halpern
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson