Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Review: Sailor Girl

This book tells the story of a confused college student who spends her summer working on freight liners on the Great Lakes. Kate, our protagonist, has gone to the boats to earn money, but she's also gone to escape her life: her seemingly too perfect sister, her parents' disappointment at her desire to become an artist, and an abusive boyfriend. On the boats Kate finds things that trouble her, like the rigid hierarchies, and the rampant sexism. But she also finds a substitute family, a group of people who care for one another in their own way. And Kate also finds danger. The aforementioned abusive boyfriend comes from the crew of her first boat, and Kate ultimately finds herself in more danger than she can possibly imagine. This is a book that tells an engaging story, but even more, this is a book about environment. Olson takes her reader to the lakes and their boats. We feel the storms, the waves, the tedium of the locks, and the residue cargoes leave behind. This is a world I didn't know existed, and Olson paints a brilliant picture. Kate is a spunky, likable heroine, and she lives in a richly-created world. Olson creates a true sensory experience. The publisher, too, has created a sensory experience, as this is one of the most beautiful books I've had the pleasure of reading and holding. The text includes photographs and is printed on thick, textured paper. The inside covers are printed with color maps of the Great Lakes region. A pleasure to hold and a pleasure to read.

Sheree-Lee Olson, Sailor Girl (The Porcupine's Quill, 2008) ISBN: 0889843015

This book review was made possible by Mini Book Expo for Bloggers. Thanks!


John Mutford said...

I think I'd really enjoy the setting of this one.

Wanda said...

Great review, only problem is... now I have Stan Roger's "Lock Keeper" playing in my head.

Melwyk said...

I've been meaning to read this one! I love the quality of Porcupine's Quill books, they take such care with everything.