Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe.

This book examines the life of a low country shrimper family. The stresses of a dangerous, low paying occupation are contrasted with the love of independence and traditions of a multi-generational family occupation. It is a story of love, tests and growth of a couple struggling to redefine their relationship.

I honestly thought I would find the book boring. Boy, was I wrong! I grew up in a dying steel town and there were some surprising parallels between my past and the life of a commercial fisherman in a dying seacoast town. The characters were clearly defined, warts and all. The competition to earn a dollar and the incredible cooperation when danger threatened was eye opening and captivating. The desire to see your family safe and taken care of was another area of similarity. My own father worked in a job he hated to insure his family’s thriving. Bud Morrison loved his occupation even when it failed to provide him with the wherewithal to support his family. The frustrated interplay between characters and their need to be responsible and often lonely and the want to be closer physically, mentally and emotionally was sometimes draining. You end up really feeling for these people and their life altering dilemmas.

Monroe paints her environment with digital clarity; you can see the Miss Carolina in the Morrison colors, the smell of the sea and the discordant aromas of dying sea life and fresh ocean breezes.

I think this story will resonate with practically anyone who has ever held a job that was both demanding and exhilarating. I saw people I knew in an industry I knew nothing about. The book moved me and surprised me for how much I enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.

Body of work of Mary Alice Monroe

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