Al’s Discussion Points for Linda Greenlaw’s: The Hungry Ocean

  1. Why do you think there is so much dread and second-guessing associating with the departure? Have you ever embarked on a trip that you had mixed feelings about? How long did it take to put the feeling behind you?  (Chapter 3)
  2. There is barely one brief mention of the personal hardship that fishing puts on Linda Greenlaw. On page 50, ever so briefly, she lets her guard down and blurts out, “Who knew that I desperately wanted a husband, a house full of children, a boring job?” Do you think she really meant that statement, or was it intended to be just contrast and put perspective on the life that she had so willingly chosen?
  3. Why does Linda Greenlaw even want to be a fisherman? Does it have to do with proving something in a male-dominated industry? Is she different from any other woman you have ever met?
  4. Try and envision yourself in Linda’s shoes. How would you handle crew problems? How would you go about leading a group of hardened men? (Chapter 5)
  5. Learning about the complexity and the uncertainties of the fishing business in general, and sword fishing in particular (including the long- and short-term preparations, and the physical aspects of the job), does that give you any respect for people that choose this career? (pages 173-175)
  6. Have you ever been challenged to apply the persistence that Linda Greenlaw had in her quest for catching halibut (pages 203-206)? Would you have been able to stand up to the crew in a situation like that?
  7. On page 248, she quotes Alden Leema, her mentor, as having quoted his own father as having said, “Anyone who chooses to make fishing his occupation solely for the money is in the wrong business.” After reading this book do you feel that advice was right or wrong? Are there other careers that are similar in that they consume your life and return so little?
  8. Did the payouts depicted at the end of the book surprise you? The captain’s pay is good at $14K for a good trip, but the crew is working for $5,500/month, with a couple days per month actually spent off the boat.
  9. Has this book changed how you will look at seafood the next time you are at Heller’s Seafood staring into the glass case at the swordfish steaks?

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