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Four Thousand Hooks: A True Story of Fishing and Coming of Age on the High Seas of Alaska Hardcover – September 19, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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Adams was 15 years old in 1972 when he signed on to the halibut schooner Grant. The boat used to be his grandfather’s before he sold it to Adams’ uncle Jack. It was a summer of firsts: first visit to a strip club, first coffee, first brush with an Irish lord (that’s not what you might think it is). It was a summer of new terminology: skate, gangion, gurdy. A kid trying to fit into a man’s world, Adams threw himself into the job the way a boy throws himself into anything new: eagerly, clumsily, and with a whole lot of good intentions but not much ability. But he learned: how to bait a string, how to clean a fish, and how to turn himself into a man like his uncle (his own father having taken a different path in life). Sort of a true-life version of William McCloskey’s Breakers (2000), a novel about commercial fisherman in Alaska in the 1970s, the book is stylishly written and full of humor, drama, and, not incidentally, life lessons. A fine coming-of-age memoir. --David Pitt
"'Hooks' has the feel of an honest memoir, valuable for its precision in describing fishing methods, crew interactions, and what Adams thought and felt . . ."―Scott Bowlen, Ketchikan Daily News
"Four Thousand Hooks is a marvellous loss-of-innocence book, informative, enjoyable and well worth reading."―Irene Wanner, Seattle Times, November 2012
"His first-hand accounts come alive on the pages, where the reader is swept into the story with the narrator. . . . The foreshadowing and timing of the story makes it difficult to stop . . ."―Christy Olsen Field, Norwegian American Weekly, October 2012
"Four Thousand Hooks says a lot about our ability to meet extraordinary challenges, and suggests that maybe we're all stronger and more capable than we realize. [It’s] filled with fascinating details of the fishing life, makes for awfully good reading."―National Fisherman, October 15, 2013
"“The well-honed prose tells a good story and one is encouraged to turn the pages to see what happens next. This is not only a very readable book but an important record of a particular type of fishing."―Arthur G. Credland, Mariners Mirror
"Four Thousand Hooks is one teenage boy's dramatic, yet humorous, coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Alaskan maritime culture . . . a vivid picture of life and commercial fishing conditions in Alaska. . ."―Jennifer Huffman, Independent Publisher, February 2013
"This is pure adventure. Dean's story is…sinewy and spare, understated and often gorgeously written."―Ethan Gilsdorf, Boston Globe, October 2012
"Four Thousand Hooks [is] one of the best books about commercial fishing in Alaska. The author began long-lining for halibut at age fifteen and went on to captain his own vessel: it is a great book for anyone interested in life on a commercial fishing vessel."―Charlotte Glover, Southeast Sea Kayaks Blog
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Oh. They have to abandon ship.
I believe people call this sort of a book a page-turner. I claim this book will appeal to many different people. And I suspect it will never become unread and forgotten.
Give it to your kids and read it yourself.
I wrote the above about 70% into the book. I was reading about the young Adams reflecting on the adult insights he had found. His remarks made me wish to hang up my clothes! I was reminded of Gretchen Rubin's "Secrets of Adulthood". Anything that might get me to consider growing up is impressive. :-) I have now finished the book. There is a spirital component towards the end and I though of Melville and Homer and others. Note the author got a "D" in eighth grade English and was given to understand he could not write.
The book starts with a dramatic event and then goes back and leads up the event, then finally brings it all together in the final chapters. As a mother of boy this age, it is heartbreaking to know what happens in the beginning and imagine what must have been going through Dean's mind as he tried to grapple with it all. But it is also heartwarming to go back before it all happens and watch Dean as he leaves home for the first big fishing trip, has to learn to fit in with an adult crew, learn the business of being on a fishing boat, grow and mature in ways that make you proud. Just as all is going great and Dean has has feet under him it all gets switched up.
I won't spoil the book by letting you know how it all turns out but will say it is a great and fun ride along the way. Dean writes in a straight forward style that lets the reader get caught up in the story and carried along up until the final sentence. He brings a nice balance to all the fishing knowledge we must learn about to appreciate his time on the boat by letting us in on the lives of the crew around him and their adventures when they dock and are allowed into town to relax from the fishing.
I am looking forward to a second book of his continued adventures fishing up in Alaska!
The glossary lists terms alphabetically which may need definition & if you have any doubt about what a beautiful wood halibut schooner looks like there is a gorgeous model photo.
It touched my heart & I continue to share it with friends.