Lifesaving Lessons: Notes from an Accidental Mother


I preface this book recommendation by saying I will pretty much read anything Linda Greenlaw writes–  I’ve been a fan since a friend invited me to join her at a reading for The Hungry Ocean.   If you have a chance to hear her speak, do.  She is fantastic.

Lifesaving Lessons is the latest installment in her episodic memoirs and relays her experience as a legal guardian for “Mariah,” a teenager who runs away from her abuser while living on Isle Au Haut.  Greenlaw doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this candid account; she also does not overdo it or try to shock you any more than she is shocked by what Mariah has survived.  She is upfront with her doubts and misgivings about her role, as well as with her determination to do what is right.  You begin to understand the depth of  the strength of her island community as well as the unsettling and no longer trusting feelings that come from realizing they are living with a predator in their midst and in need of healing.

In the acknowledgements, Greenlaw says telling this story is self-serving (book deal) but I would disagree.   Part of Greenlaw’s rising to the occasion is telling the story.   Character is built and heroes are made by doing the right thing, and that is rarely the easier choice.  I have admired Greenlaw for her no nonsense determination and her many successes, from fishing to writing, but have a new admiration for her “accidental mother” ing skills.  This is well worth the read.